WITH JUST four league games remaining, the Irish Championship is entering that crucial period once famously dubbed “squeaky bum time”.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The phrase, coined by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, refers to the tense final stage which decides the winners and losers and the next two weeks will decide exactly how much of a success or failure the 2012/13 campaign has been for Institute Football Club.
Games are coming thick and fast for the Drumahoe men and they face the biggest test of their resolve tomorrow afternoon when they travel to Clandeboye Park to meet champions elect, Ards. (Kick-off 3 p.m.)
Paul Kee’s charges simply can’t afford to slip up as they battle with Warrenpoint for a promotion play-off spot but they go into tomorrow’s clash on the back of an impressive three game winning streak.
That timely winning run was instigated by a shock 0-1 loss at the hands of struggling Bangor last month and Kee is delighted with the way his team have responded to the criticism handed out in the wake of that defeat.
“To have been able to bounce back after losing to Bangor and win three games on the trot, you can’t ask for anything more and the players deserve credit for that,” said Kee.
Ards’ title celebrations were put on hold on Tuesday night after they were held to a 2-2 draw against Dundela at Wilgar Park and Kee is hoping his side can spoil the party once again tomorrow afternoon.
“The team is playing well now so we can go to Ards and win,” he claimed. “They are top of the league and may have already won the title before we play them, but we have to try and keep this momentum going and keep winning matches.
“For us to finish second, we have to get as many points as we can and hopefully we can get above the likes of Warrenpoint, Carrick and Dundela, because we are all battling for that second spot.
“And I think if we can keep playing the way we are then we have a chance.”
A win tomorrow would give the Waterside men a major boost and put them firmly in the driving seat in the race for second spot.
Certainly the next seven days will go a long way to defining their season as they travel to Larne next Tuesday night before a crunch clash against promotion rivals Warrenpoint at the Riverside Stadium next Saturday.