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Feeney insists Oval boo boys won't faze him as he strives to drag Ards up table

 

Making his mark: Ards manager Warren Feeney
Making his mark: Ards manager Warren Feeney

By Steven Beacom

New Ards manager Warren Feeney says any jeers or boos from Glentoran supporters at the Oval today won't bother him.

With Feeney having previously been Linfield boss, he is expecting a rough reception in east Belfast when he takes his Ards team to play the Glens in what both clubs view as a crucial league encounter.

Gary Smyth will be demanding maximum points from the home side in their quest to finish seventh in the Danske Bank Premiership, while Ards are determined to earn a result in their battle to avoid the drop.

Feeney had an inspirational impact in his first game in charge after taking over the reins from Colin Nixon when Ards defeated Newry City 3-1. That victory jumped Ards above Newry on goal difference at the bottom of the table and the former Northern Ireland international will be aiming to build on that and gain some momentum for the run-in.

"I know I'll probably get a reception from the Glentoran fans but it won't bother me. My only concern will be to do well for Ards," said Feeney.

"This is a brilliant game for us. These are the games you want. For us there is no pressure with Glentoran above us. I want us to go and enjoy it and build on what we did against Newry.

"We had conceded too many goals, weren't scoring enough and had only won three games in the league all season so going into the Newry game was huge.

"I told the players what we wanted and I asked them for energy and to give themselves a chance of staying up and they produced a performance and got a vital victory.

"It was a good feeling in the dressing room. I was annoyed we didn't have a game last week but we've been working hard with the players and we'll be ready for the game at Glentoran."

Feeney's personality, character and experience is such that he could have stayed in England and continued coaching or doing scouting work. Offers were on the table but with his family planning to re-locate to Northern Ireland, the ex-Luton and Bournemouth striker decided the Ards job was for him.

"I believe in what I have got and I've never shied away from a challenge," said Feeney speaking about the relegation battle.

"The good thing is I've been in this position before with Newport and I know you have to keep the players up and also keep it simple for them."

Feeney is well aware of the talent that Glentoran possess in attack with Curtis Allen, Robbie McDaid and Darren Murray. In fact when he was Linfield manager he tried to sign Murray.

The Ards boss will feel that if he can keep that trio quiet, there will be every chance his team will take something from the game.

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