Stute face pivotal fortnight in race for title

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INSTITUTE boss, Paul Kee is bracing himself for what could be a pivotal fortnight in the race for the Championship One title.

With just nine games remaining in the league campaign, the Drumahoe men take on title rivals, Dundela at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow (Kick-off 3 p.m.) in a game which could have major repercussions at the top of the table.

Ards are now just five points ahead of ‘Stute at the top following their defeat to Warrenpoint last weekend and Kee is hoping his side can remain focussed with key games on the horizon.

Following tomorrow’s top of the table clash, ‘Stute entertain Dergview before travelling to meet the league leaders, Ards in a game which will certainly have a major say in the destination of the trophy.

“We are at the business end of the season now,” said Kee. “I don’t want us to take our eye off the ball because every game now is like a cup final and we have to make sure that we are fully focused and up for the game.

“We have two back-to-back home games, starting with Dundela on Saturday and then Dergview, before going to Ards so we certainly have a big fortnight ahead of us, but I’m only concentrating and worried about Dundela this weekend.”

The last team to defeat ’Stute in the league was Mark Snodden’s side when Mark McClelland’s 93rd minute winner saw the Belfast men secure a narrow 2-1 win and Kee is expecting another tough encounter this weekend.

“We know it’s going to be a hard game for us and in fairness to Dundela, they will be looking at our result on Saturday, because Welders beat them and Welders beat Ards, so it sends a message to them.

“Sides are going to get worried about coming to Drumahoe and rightfully so, we are also getting good plaudits in the national papers, where other people are praising our style of football and that’s credit to the players and the staff.

“Both Dundela and Warrenpoint have to come to us and they are going to get a tough game and hopefully we can pick up as many points as we can in the remaining games.”

One man who will be very much in Kee’s plans for tomorrow’s clash is Aaron Walsh who the ‘Stute boss believes can play a key role as the season reaches its climax.

“Aaron does a lot of unseen defensive work, he does a lot of blocks, he has a lot of interceptions and when players are in possession he makes them think.

“He is a very, very intelligent player and it’s just a pity he’s 30 years-old, because if he was 20 then he could definitely go higher.

“He is like a leader on the pitch for us. His creativity levels are super, he helps us develop play and everything we are trying to do here. He epitomises it and he’s definitely at the top of his game at the minute,” he concluded.