Kevin Deery relishing Friday night 'throwback' at Brandywell with high flying Institute

FRIDAY night under the lights at Brandywell Stadium is a familiar setting for Institute boss Kevin Deery and he's hoping his young team can produce a performance fitting of the occasion when they host Ballinamallard.
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The former Derry City captain has enjoyed many memorable Friday nights at the Lone Moor Road venue representing the Candy Stripes and he's appealing for supporters of the Brandywell outfit to come out and support his in-form 'Stute team and get their Friday night football fix.

With Derry City and Finn Harps currently enjoying their off-season, Institute Football Club are offering entry to home matches to fans of both clubs at a concessionary rate of just £5!

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Deery is hoping the 'footy for a fiver' scheme will put a few more bums on seats in the Mark Farren Stand and he's challenged his team to put on a show that will entice them to return.

"It's a bit of a throwback for myself," he smiled. "I'm looking forward to something different as well. It definitely adds to the atmosphere at the game, a Friday night game under the lights. Hopefully we can get another few supporters in to watch because we're going quite well.

"It's something we feel like trying now with Derry in their off season. With the ties we have with Derry City, we want to try and get a wee bit more support in to watch our young players who are showing a lot of hunger and quality at the minute.

"It's the North West clubs and supporters backing each other which is very important for the likes of ourselves and probably Finn Harps and maybe Dergview. We're grateful for any extra income and the more following we can get the better.

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"Obviously Derry City has its own fanbase and is one of the best supported clubs in Ireland and we're not competing against that but for a few Derry fans that are doing nothing on a Friday night, I think they would enjoy the way we have been playing and we would really look forward to welcoming everyone into the Brandywell if they want to come watch us."

Institute will play under the lights on Friday night at Brandywell against Ballinamallard.Institute will play under the lights on Friday night at Brandywell against Ballinamallard.
Institute will play under the lights on Friday night at Brandywell against Ballinamallard.

'Stute currently sit third in the Playr-fit NIFL Championship table behind Portadown and Dundela and as they enter a busy festive period, Deery is hoping they can maintain their lofty position going into the New Year.

"We're going really well. We're really young and just determined to keep going. Our home form has been pretty good and we want to keep that going. With the ties I have at the Brandywell and the football it's experienced throughout the years, I want my team to replicate that.

"It's a lovely venue but you have to serve up good football and hungry football and that's what I want from my team on Friday."

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Last week's clash with Dundela was all square at 1-1 with 'Stute down to 10 men following Fionn McClure's sending off when the floodlights failed at Wilgar Park and the match was abandoned.

It's the second time this season 'Stute have been involved in a game which was brought to a halt for reasons out of their control and the midweek fixtures are beginning to pile up as a result.

With the majority of the 'Stute squad in full-time employment and the calendar as congested as it is during the next six weeks, it's far from an ideal scenario to have two midweek games to reschedule but Deery is hoping it won't affect his team's current form.

"We weren't happy with our performance last week. Although we were away to the league leaders and they're home form has been impeccable. Ards are the only team to go there and win 1-0, they've won their other seven games. So we knew it would be difficult but I felt we didn't impose our own game on them and we were disappointed with that.

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"We want to get back to playing our football and no better venue to do that than the Brandywell on a Friday night. So let's try to get back to winning ways again.

"I don't want to sound negative about that (fixture pile-up) because it has to be done. We have to go away to Annagh on December 5th - a Tuesday night. Our boys, the majority of them are in full-time employment and we have to try and get them out of work early for the game to go up to the middle of Portadown to play Annagh.

"The Dundela game will be rearranged for a Tuesday night as well but that is yet to be confirmed because there's no room in December to squeeze that in. So that will likely be in the New Year or around February time. So that's something we have to look at.

"The end of November and start of December will be a really busy period for us and we have to look for a big points tally over the festive period. If we do, we'll be in a good place coming into January.

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"As long as you're in and around the top end of the table. No one would've put us up there and that's testament to how the players have worked since pre-season. We just have to turn the screw again in these difficult winter months.

"We can't be thinking it's great being up around the top because in this division, a couple of bad results and you could drip right down the table."

Although his team have already taken three points off the Mallards on the road, new boss Tommy Canning has enjoyed an instant impact and while their run of seven games without defeat was ended by Newington on their last outing, Deery expects a tough test.

"This one for me is one we have to be right at it. Ballinamallard have been going quite well and have had a couple of good draws against top of the table teams so we know it will be a hard game. We want to try and get three points and move on to the following week against Dergview on a Friday night as well."

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Long term absentees Rhys McDermott (cruciate) and Paddy McLaughlin (hamstring) remain sidelined and while Ryan Morrow returns from suspension, served in the abandoned game against Dundela. Fionn McClure - who received a red card in that game - is suspended.