PAUL KEE has challenged his team to prove they can mount a serious challenge for promotion this season with a string of positive results, starting with tomorrow afternoon’s meeting with Dergview in Castlederg. (Kick-off 3 p.m.)
SIMON COLLINS reports
It would be premature to write off Institute’s chances of promotion, however, the management at the Riverside Stadium will be disappointed with the club’s return after two matches, following successive defeats to Bangor and Newry City.
Tuesday night’s 3-0 North West Senior Cup victory over Moyola Park in Drumahoe will have lifted the mood at the Waterside club and ‘Stute’s Head of Development, Kee is confident his side can quickly turnaround its fortunes.
Institute are currently in a transitional period but they are already playing catch-up to the league’s promotion hopefuls and Kee knows they must start accumulating points quickly.
“Like any other season, the start of the campaign is all about finding your squad out and we’re doing that at the minute,” said Kee. “We’ll have to do what we did last season and get a string of results together where we won quite a lot of matches and didn’t get beaten.
“So that’s what we’re looking for now. Are we capable of doing that? Yes, I think we are because that’s what we did last year.
“Our start doesn’t worry me at the minute as long as we don’t lose too many and fall too far behind. You can’t afford to do that if you want to be challenging at the top end of the table and that’s where we want to be. We want to be up there and make it as difficult as we can for other clubs.
“We are going through transition with a lot of players let go and the wage bill’s been kept down deliberately so we have to be patient and people have to understand that young players have to be brought through. It just dosen’t happen overnight. “We know that we need to start getting points sooner rather than later, but no one is panicking, I believe if we can go on an unbeaten run of seven or eight games then we’ll be okay.”
New signings Sean Friars, Mark Kelly and Davitt Walsh all got a run-out during Tuesday night’s NW Cup win and Thomas McBride is expected to be involved in tomorrow’s clash in Castlederg which Kee believes will strengthen the team’s chances of claiming its first win of the season.
“It’s about getting the new players in now and getting them settled as quickly as possible,” continued Kee. “There’s four or five new players and it’s just a case of them knowing what’s required of them. I’m expecting big things from Thomas McBride and I’m hoping he can make a difference in midfield.”