IF Institute Football Club is to put an end to its current slump and a worrying five game losing streak, then now would be considered the perfect time to do so.
The relegation threatened club have gone four months and 16 games without a league win and registered just four points from a possible 48 since late October. Therefore, Paul Kee’s troops know they must start putting points on the board with just nine games remaining.
They are four points adrift at the bottom and tomorrow they take on a team lying at the bottom half of the table just nine points better off than the Drumahoe men, when Ballinamallard arrive at the Riverside Stadium.
A first league win since late October could actually drag Ballinamallard back into the relegation dogfight and, in turn, boost ‘Stute’s chances of an unlikely revival.
And Kee will know that his side must take points off the clubs in and around them at this crunch stage of the campaign.
Jason McCartney’s penalty six minutes into injury-time earned Ballinamallard a vital Premiership win over Coleraine last weekend - a win which further eases their relegation worries. And they will be hoping to move further towards safety by widening the gap between Institute and themselves to 12 points with a win tomorrow.
Second from bottom club, Warrenpoint Town host third from bottom Dungannon Swifts tomorrow, so Institute will capitalise from one, or indeed both, of their relegation rivals losing points.
The Waterside club must take on Ballinamallard without suspended mifielder, Aaron Walsh and Stephen Curry who is on a short break in America.
Meanwhle, Kee this week insisted he wanted to remain in charge in Drumahoe and he’s hoping last weekend’s disappointing 3-0 defeat at Ballymena United will be enough to spur on his players.
“The crazy thing is that the players trained really well; the attitude and application was excellent in training but then they go out on a match day and don’t perform, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “Hopefully the disappointment will spur the boys on this weekend.”
Commenting after Tuesday night’s 0-3 loss to Derry City in the annual Billy Kee Memorial Cup in Drumahoe, Kee said he was happy to continue in the hotseat despite suggestions that he was considering his future after the Ballymena United defeat.
“I’m happy to carry on,” he confirmed. “If someone comes and says that they’re not happy with me staying then that’s fair enough.
“But, in fairness, all the indications are that people want me to stay on.
“My comments (made in the aftermath of last Saturday’s defeat) have been dealt with very professionally by people within the club and I’m pleased and I appreciate that,” he concluded.