Basement battles define our season, warns Nixon
New Ards boss Colin Nixon admits his team's Boxing Day clash with Carrick Rangers at the Loughshore Hotel Arena is not a 'must win' affair, but rather a 'must not lose' fixture.
The County Down club approach the basement showdown buoyed by a battling 1-1 draw at Coleraine last week.
It left Glentoran legend Nixon beaming with pride, although he felt his side should have left the Showgrounds with maximum points instead of one.
"It was a decent start," he said. "To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed we didn't take all three points.
"But the club was in a little bit of a slump, having picked up only two points from a possible 30 leading into last week's game.
"So, in terms of getting a draw at Coleraine, it was fantastic and a big boost to the boys' confidence.
"The lads have certainly been great - they have bought into what I expect from them.
"It's a start - something to build on."
Nixon believes relegation haunted Carrick will be another "massive test" on Boxing Day.
"It's a big game for both clubs," he agreed.
"They are battling for their lives at the bottom of the table.
"They have had some good results since Aaron Callaghan has taken over and they have a League Cup final to look forward to in the New Year.
"The reality is, our season will not be determined on what happens against the top four teams," he said.
"It's the teams in and around us in the league table that we must take points from and Carrick come into that category."