Belfast Telegraph

Ards can't let gap widen, warns Tommons

By Alex Mills

Midfielder Gareth Tommons admits Ards cannot afford to allow fellow Danske Bank Premiership strugglers Newry City to slip out of their sights.

Both clubs have been alarmingly cut adrift at the bottom of the table, with the border team a whopping 10 points behind 10th-placed Dungannon Swifts.

Even more worrying for Ards boss Colin Nixon is the fact that his team sit a further three points back, firmly rooted to the bottom.

With a daunting visit to Mourneview Park on the agenda tomorrow to face Gary Hamilton's Glenavon, Tommons stresses that it is vital the gap between the bottom two doesn't widen.

"The league table doesn't lie, even though I feel we have been unlucky at times," said the former Coleraine man. "I suppose the bottom line is that we concede too many goals and we fail to take our chances at the other end.

"Being honest, we can't complain about where we are in the league table."

However, there were a number of issues that contributed to the team's relegation plight.

Both full-backs, Reece Glendinning and Michael Ruddy, left the club - for Ballymena United and Crusaders respectively - while the central defensive duo of Dave Elebert and Johnny Taylor was also broken up.

Elebert decided to retire - he had been plagued by injury since the start of the season - while his partner sustained a series of niggling injury problems himself that have kept him out of the side for three months.

"It's been frustrating," added Tommons.

"The gaffer was forced to rebuild the side because our back four, who did so well for us last season, were no longer there.

"There is still a positive attitude in the dressing room and the boys all work hard in training.

"The boss, his backroom staff and the players are doing all we can to turn things around.

"It's a learning curve for some of our youngers lads. But now is not the time to panic.

"The reality is that we are rapidly running out of games. It's between ourselves and Newry City because the teams above us seem to be picking up points on a regular basis.

"It's vital that we prise ourselves away from the bottom and out of the automatic relegation place."

On the plus side for Nixon, Taylor will return to the squad following that three-month lay-off - his last game was back in November against Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

He played for the Under-20 team last week and came through without any aggravation.

Striker Jonathan Smith, on loan from Linfield, is also due to make a comeback.

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