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Nixon boys are a great fit for Ards, insists Smyth

By Graham Luney

Gary Smyth believes Colin Nixon and his brother Darren will be able to steady the Ards ship without hitting too many storms. The H&W Welders boss has watched both men leave the east Belfast minnows to take charge of the north Down club following the departure of Niall Currie to Portadown.

Colin was coaching the Welders youth team while Darren has ended his adventure in the heart of the Welders defence.

Gary and Colin are both Glentoran legends who stood shoulder to shoulder against enemies at The Oval and now both men are targeting further success in management, starting with tomorrow's trip to Coleraine. The brothers are fired up for the challenge at their hometown club and Smyth believes the duo have a firm foundation to build on.

"Niall Currie left Ards in good shape and it's difficult to see them being relegated from the Premiership this season," said Smyth, who made 364 appearances for the Glens, 430 shy of Colin's 794 making him number one in the club's appearance list.

"Portadown have a lot of ground to make up but their biggest concern might be Carrick, who are impressing under Aaron Callaghan. But it would take a shocking run from Ards to lose their top-flight status and there's a good squad of players there with an opportunity for Colin to strengthen the team.

"The last time Ards were promoted they dropped like a stone and suffered some heavy defeats but they look pretty safe now and the opportunity is there for the boys to do a steady job. They are two local lads with a strong family link to the club, it's a proud moment for them and I wasn't shocked to see them leave.

"Colin was linked with the Glentoran post so he perhaps wasn't settled at the Welders while Darren, although he could have played on for us, is an amateur and can take this opportunity. I would never want anyone to be part of something when they didn't want to be here."

Nixon missed out on the Glentoran job as the board placed their faith in Gary Haveron.

There may be less hype and pressure surrounding the Ards position but the supporters will still expect the club to move in the right direction.

"Newtownards is one of the biggest towns in Northern Ireland and it's a disgrace the club doesn't have a ground it can call home," added Smyth.

"I played in the last match at Castlereagh Park for the Glens and it's a sad story. The board and the fans have done their best to see the club carry on but like so many other clubs the money has not been found. It's a club with a proud history but their place in the top flight still has to be earned."

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