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Glens legend Nixon would love to put one over on Oval outfit

By Graham Luney

Colin Nixon will always be proud of what he achieved in the famous Glentoran jersey but tonight he will be out to inflict pain on the club where he earned legendary status.

Now in charge of Ards, it could have been a very different story had the Glens chosen Nixon as the man to succeed Alan Kernaghan in the Oval hotseat in September.

Oval chiefs put their faith in Gary Haveron and while former defender Nixon, who remains the club's longest serving player having made a record 792 appearances, was disappointed to be overlooked on that occasion, Ards handed him his first chance to blossom as a Danske Bank Premiership boss last month.

It was a perfect early Christmas present for Nixon who was handed the task of keeping the north Down men in the top flight.

And it was a timely lift after the disappointment of not landing the Glens job but the man who helped steer the east Belfast side to four league titles and five Irish Cups doesn't need any introduction to the highs and lows of football.

The Glentoran managerial episode is now water under the bridge as Nixon vows to use all his knowledge and experience to get Ards moving in the right direction.

"I'm very proud of everything I have achieved at Glentoran but this is a new challenge for me and I'm really enjoying it," admitted Nixon who netted 87 goals for the Glens.

"I'm 100 per cent committed to helping Ards progress and you can never really look back in this game.

"I've learned some harsh lessons in my career but you've got to move on. I've been given a great opportunity to start my managerial career here with Ards and things are developing as expected but a win over Glentoran would be a huge lift for everyone."

A victory over Glentoran at the Bangor Fuels Arena tonight (7.45pm) would see his side leapfrog the Glens into eighth in the league table, a huge incentive for the hosts. "The Glentoran game is a huge one for us because we can climb above them into eighth spot in the league table and that's a big incentive for the boys," added Nixon who made his Glens debut in 1995 and was one of the Irish League's best defenders until the fairytale ended in April 2013.

"They have ambitions to make the top six but we don't want the Glens to extend their lead over us.

"It's a massive game for us given where the club are in the league table and we will be working hard to get the result we need.

"Glentoran are like any other club in the sense that you are where you deserve to be in the table.

"They have lacked consistency and haven't been able to assemble the points they would have liked.

"It's the same picture for ourselves but we also understand and realise that if we keep working hard the results will come.

"All we can do is try and produce a performance good enough to get the three points.

"I've added a few fresh faces to the squad this month and everyone is hungry to do well.

"Performances have been great and we are playing some good football.

"The fixture list gave us matches against Crusaders and Cliftonville which are never easy and despite our strong showing we couldn't get over the line in those games but I'm confident we can get a win over the Glens.

"I'm really enjoying it at the moment - it eats up a lot of my time but that's the way it works and it's called big-time management."

• Several Linfield players have agreed contract extensions.

Putting pen to paper are Matthew Clarke (three years), Gareth Deane (three), Mark Haughey (three), Niall Quinn (two) and Mark Stafford (one).

• Glentoran will take on Derry City in a friendly at The Oval on Friday, February 3.

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