PAUL McDowell might have left Ards for local rivals Bangor, but he could still help keep his parent club in the Premiership.
McDowell has joined Belfast Telegraph Championship high flyers Bangor on loan from Ards until the end of the season.
In a strange twist of fate, McDowell's signature could help protect Ards' senior status.
Bangor haven't applied for a Championship Licence, which means they can not gain promotion to the Premiership. If Bangor were to win the division that could well save bottom placed Ards from the dreaded drop.
27-year-old McDowell said: “I think Bangor have the potential to play in the Premiership and it's a shame the club aren't going for promotion this year, but obviously the club have their reasons.
“It's strange, because Bangor winning the league could help keep Ards in the Premiership. But I actually think Ards will turn things round. There are plenty of good players at Ards and they have quite a lot of depth, so I think they'll do well in the second half of the season.”
McDowell has played for Bangor before, scoring 45 goals for the Seasiders in a three season stint at the club between 2006 and 2009. The former Glentoran and Ballymena United striker would dearly love to win the Championship title with the Clandeboye Park club.
“Bangor are a club very close to my heart, so I'm looking forward to playing for them again,” he said.
“Some people have said to me, 'how can you move from Ards to Bangor', but I don't really think about things like that. The clubs share a ground and all the players know each other well, so it's a friendly rivalry.
“I had a very successful spell at Bangor a few years ago and I'd love to repeat that. We're well positioned in the league at the moment, and I don't see any reason why we can't win the league.
“I've won the Championship with Loughgall, Carrick Rangers and Ards, and I'd love to win a fourth medal with Bangor.”
McDowell scored 20 goals for Ards last season, helping them towards promotion, but only found the net twice in the current Premiership campaign.
McDowell explained: “It's been a frustrating few months for me because I've either been injured or on the bench. I find it difficult to make an impact, coming off the bench and I feel that it's hurt my fitness levels.
“I've had full games with Ards Seconds, but if I'm being honest I've found it hard to get motivated to play reserve football. It's okay when you're 21, but I'm 27-years-old now and at this stage of my career I need to be playing first team football.
“The gaffer (Niall Currie) has been playing one up front most weeks, so that's also made it difficult for me to break into the team. I had a chat with him and said I wanted to get regular football and he agreed to let me sign for Bangor.
“It's only a loan deal and the plan is for me to return to Ards at the end of the season, so hopefully it's a move that works well for all parties.”