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Ards have grounds for optimism in stadium bid

By Keith Bailie

Published 26/03/2016

No fears: Niall Currie says Ards can cope with derby pressure
No fears: Niall Currie says Ards can cope with derby pressure

Strangford MLA Mike Nesbitt has backed Ards Football Club's radical plan to build a new ground on the premises of Movilla High School.

A small arena, which would have a capacity of 2,000 and a 3G pitch, is planned for the Newtownards school's disused gravel playing fields. The school's board of governors voted in favour of the plans earlier this week.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Nesbitt said: "This proposal would be very good news for Movilla High School, Ards Football Club and Newtownards.

"This could be a case of right time, right place. In the next few months, DCAL funding will become available through the Sub-Regional Stadia Programme for Soccer.

"This project has the potential to open the door to that money."

Fittingly, Ards play landlords Bangor today in a much-anticipated North Down derby.

Championship One league leaders Ards will be without suspended captain James Cully while January signing Gary Browne is an injury doubt.

Ards boss Niall Currie said: "We know how much the derby means to our fans. That puts extra pressure on us, but we have players capable of dealing with that pressure."

Sixth-placed Bangor still have their eye on a promotion slot.

Their coach Garth Scates said: "We will prepare for this game like any other, but come 3pm there will be a great atmosphere. Ards may be top, but on derby day anything can happen."

Elsewhere, second-placed Harland & Wolff Welders host Knockbreda while Lurgan Celtic face Annagh United.

Lisburn Distillery could be relegated if they lose to already-demoted Donegal Celtic and Knockbreda and Dergview (home to Institute) both win.

Belfast Telegraph

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