INSTITUTE will hope to build on last weekend’s satisfactory share of the spoils against Carrick Rangers when they welcome Tobermore United to the Riverside Stadium tonight (Friday, 7.45 p.m.)
And given that the match is on home soil, team boss, Paul Kee will be anxious to secure maximum points against his North-West neighbours.
Indeed, Kee will be paying particular attention to Tobermore’s accomplished striker, Neil Lamont, who appears to rise to the occasion in derby games have caused ‘Stute no shortage of problems last season.
“Lamont is a threat and he can score goals, he scored against us last season so we have to pay him extra attention on Friday night,” admitted Kee.
Commenting on tonight’s opposition, Kee held the view that it would be more of the same.
“I’m sure they have retained most of last year’s squad and have added a couple of other players to freshen up.
“But they deserve a lot of credit from last season because any time we faced them they proved to be a very competitive opponent and I’m sure Friday night’s game will be no different.
“Our defending much improve significantly if we are to compete at this level and it’s something we must address over the next couple of matches.”
Despite his worry, he refused to criticise his players after last Saturday’s commendable performance and heaped praise on keeper, Alan Ryan.
“I’m not going to knock the players after the Carrick game because they stuck at it and they were resilient.
“But l feel we need to defend better as a team. That obviously means working harder up front, working harder in midfield and working harder in defence. In addition, our goalkeeper must also do well when called upon.
“That said, Alan (Ryan) made four significant saves in the second half against Carrick, but he’s capable of doing that on a regular basis.
“It’s good that we have him here at the minute as we can use him before he returns to England. The plan is to keep him as a signed player and if we ever did experience a goalkeeping problem, we can bring him back. However, when he does return to England, both Corey (Wilson) and Marty (Gallagher) will be competing for the jersey.”
Kee also pointed to the importance of winning home games. “You want to try and win every game it doesn’t matter if it’s home or away but on Friday night we really want to win this one as it’s our first home game of the season. We want to make sure that Drumahoe will prove to be a very difficult venue for teams to secure results.
“The season has just got underway and with every team still fresh and looking forward to the challenge of matches, Tobermore will be no different.”
’Stute expect to welcome back Joe Gray, John Curran and Sean McCarron for the game.