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Ards are on Reds alert to start picking up points: Nixon

By Graham Luney

Colin Nixon hopes his players can build on their impressive second half performance against Crusaders and rock their neighbours Cliftonville today.

Ards are back in north Belfast and face a daunting challenge against the Reds at Solitude but can take a lot of heart and encouragement from their Irish Cup showing against the Crues, despite a 2-0 fifth round defeat.

"The Cliftonville game is a very hard one, we have some midfielders carrying knocks so we need to assess those," said Ards chief Nixon.

"It's a big game for us and in my opinion we need to be picking up points and we will only do that by eradicating mistakes.

"We did put Crusaders under pressure in the Irish Cup game and the lads were super in the second half. The lads listened to me at half-time and I said to them I don't want to be shouting at them again after full-time.

"Sometimes you have to do that and I got a response which is pleasing. I thought we were terrific in the second half at Seaview and it's something to build on and we will take on Cliftonville with confidence.

"We just have to cut out the mistakes and then we can win football matches."

After suffering two defeats in a week against Crusaders - in the Premiership and Irish Cup - Nixon says he believes the red and black ribbons will remain on the Gibson Cup this year.

"I can't see another team catching them in the title race," added Nixon.

"They have got so much quality. They made changes against us and when I read the teamsheet I looked at what they have on the pitch and in reserve and it's a shade better than everyone else.

"We've lost two games against the best team in the country and we were down about it but on reflection we gave them two good games and should have taken something from one of them but that's the juggernaut that Crusaders are.

"They are very difficult to play against, are a quality team and I'm sure they will be also there or thereabouts in the Irish Cup."

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