Ards have grounds for optimism in stadium bid
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.