‘Stute bolster squad ahead of Newry clash

INSTITUTE FOOTBALL Club yesterday announced the arrivals of four new faces to help bolster the squad ahead of tonight’s Irish Championship clash with Newry City at the Showgrounds. (Kick-off 8 p.m.)

SIMON COLLINS reports

Joint team manager, Paul Carlyle last night confirmed the signings of former Finn Harps striker, Davitt Walsh from Fanad United, midfielder, Thomas McBride from Derry City and ex-‘Stute winger, Sean Friars from Aileach Football Club.

Last season’s loan signing from Chimney Corner, striker, Mark Kelly has also signed for the Drumahoe men on a permanent basis and will come straight into the squad alongside Walsh.

However, ‘Stute failed to receive clearance for McBride and Friars in time for tonight’s meeting with the ‘Bordermen’, both players expected to be made available for next Saturday’s visit to Dergview.

Four timely acquisitions for the Drumahoe men as they attempt to bounce back from their opening day 3-4 defeat to Bangor, and the return of experienced centre-half, Mark Scoltock from holiday, further strengthens the ‘Stute coach’s hand ahead of what’s expected to be a difficult test.

Former Manchester United and Wigan defender, Pat McGibbon oversaw Newry’s relegation from the Carling Premiership after taking over midway through the season and he has been tipped to take them straight back up.

They got off to an impressive winning start last Saturday, coming from behind to win 3-1 at Dergview, however, Carlyle’s only concern is with his own team and he believes that the new additions will provide the necessary impetus to take the team forward.

“We’ve signed Thomas McBride from Derry City but the clearance hasn’t come through on time for him to start against Newry,” confirmed the ‘Stute coach.

“Sean Friars’ clearance hasn’t come through in time either but both Davitt Walsh and Mark Kelly will be available for Friday along with Mark Scoltock.”

Refusing to dwell on his side’s disastrous first half performance last weekend, Carlyle insists his new-look team will take some time to gel together.

“People can be critical of the players after last week’s game but you have to remember we’re only four weeks back at training so they’re not match fit,” he added.

“Maybe we didn’t get enough games in pre-season and it’s such a short turnover. But at the end of the day it’s no excuse, you have to hit the ground running and we’re hoping to do that in the next few games.

“Once we start gathering together we’ll be okay because it’s a new team. We’ll be looking to learn from that game and put in a better performance this weekend.

“It’s going to have to take time, we have to put our house in order, get ourselves right and that’s down to the staff and we’ll do that.”

“We have to be patient and we will bleed young players too. As we seen last week, we have some very good young players. We had a good session on Tuesday night and we had another one on Thursday night so we’re not worried about Newry or anyone else, we just have to worry about ourselves.”

Institute came close to securing what would have been a superb point against the ‘Seasiders’ last weekend having been 0-4 behind and Carlyle is hoping they can start where they left off when they take on Newry tonight.

“We’ll be looking to learn from the Bangor game and put in a better performance this weekend. We’ll be looking for an improvement on the defensive side of things but we also have to take the positives from the game. In the last 20 minutes there was a lot you could take out of it,” he added.