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Carrick Rangers on the brink of a top flight return

By Keith Bailie

Published 19/04/2015

Carrick Rangers boss Glenn Taggart
Carrick Rangers boss Glenn Taggart

Carrick Rangers could be crowned Belfast Telegraph Championship champions tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

Glenn Taggart's men will face PSNI at Newforge, while Bangor play Harland & Wolff Welders at Tillysburn (both 7pm starts). Carrick are currently two points clear of Bangor with two games to play, so if they beat the police and Bangor fail to overcome the Welders, the Taylor's Avenue side will win the Championship One title with a game to spare.

Meanwhile, Niall Currie's Ards will be sat at home hoping PSNI and the Welders can do them a massive favour. As Ards are only one point behind Carrick, they still have an outside chance of lifting the title.

Although Carrick are 34 points clear of the PSNI, manager Taggart believes he cannot afford to underestimate the Newforge club.

"The one thing about Jamesie Kirk's sides is that they always fight for everything, and I expect no different on Tuesday. They're still fighting to avoid relegation, so they've just as much to play for as us.

"At Christmas, everybody thought they were dead and buried, but I always suspected they had the ability to fight back and that's exactly what they've done. They deserve a tremendous amount of credit.

"The one thing in our favour is the pitch at Newforge, which is like a bowling green. We've played on some bumpy pitches recently so we're looking forward to this one."

Across Belfast, Bangor will face fourth placed Harland & Wolff Welders at Tillysburn. While Jeff Montgomery's side will want to win so they can keep the pressure on Carrick, a draw could be considered a great result for the Seasiders. A point would take them above second-placed Ards and into the play-off position. That means a win over Lisburn Distillery on Saturday would then secure a Bangor a two-legged tie with Barry Gray's Warrenpoint Town.

Carrick's match at Newforge will also have an impact on the relegation battle. PSNI are currently a point clear of Donegal Celtic, so if Jamesie Kirk's men can beat Carrick Rangers they will secure their place in next season's second tier, while also relegating DC. If the police fail to win, the relegation battle will go to the last day of the season, with PSNI away to Larne and Donegal Celtic away to Loughgall.

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