PAUL Kee may be delighted at the progress of Institute over recent weeks, but the Drumahoe club’s Director of Youth Development refuses to get carried away with his side’s high placing in the race for the Championship One title.
Tomorrow, Coagh United arrive at the Riverside Stadium (3.00 p.m.) and the Cookstown side have been labelled the draw specialists of the league, the Co. Tyrone men having drawn four of their six games with one win reecorded plus one defeat.
‘Stute, on the other hand, have won their last three league games on the spin and they sit in second spot in the table, just four points behind leaders, Ards with Coagh currently in a midtable berth.
But for Kee, the fact that tomorrow’s visitors have lost just one match, makes the game all the more significant.
“They are a good footballing side, make no mistake about that, and if we happen to take anything for granted against them, we will be in trouble,” declared Kee.
“They may have drawn four of their six matches, but I think it’s important to note, they didn’t lose them. In fact, they’ve lost just one match in six, so that makes them danagerous,” he added.
“That said, I’d rather concentrate on our own form which has been excellent over recent weeks and we really want to continue our run, particularly when at home.
“Obviously, we will not under-estimate Coagh, but we must focus on ourselves and the fact that we haven’t conceded a goal in our last three games is significant.
“And the fact that we’ve started to score goals at the other end of the pitch is also significant. We can’t afford to take our eye off the ball and we must continue to concentrate on our individual jobs and, at the same time, work particularly hard for the team.”
A 3-0 victory over Bangor at Clandeboye Park last week delighted Kee and with his influential captain and solid centre-back, Paddy McLaughlin, expected to return to action this week, hopes are high that ‘Stute can extend their winning run to four.
“Paddy continues to be an instrumental player for us and, hopefully, he will return to action on Saturday. He was ruled out of the Bangor match due to an ankle problem and I think the result will have done him good.
“Paddy is a natural leader and he sets good examples for his team-mates. In fact, when he’s not on the pitch, there are times when we feel understrength which can be a worry.”
Other good news surrounds the progress of the versatile Joe Gray who, according to Kee, has a 50-50 chance of making the squad.
“Unfortunately, his knee had swollen up after the Limavady match which ruled him out of the Bangor game, but he could be declared fit and he’s the type of player we may need this weekend.”
One player who will not be involved is Dean Jarvis who is suspended with Graeme Crown expected to deputise at left-back.