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Nixon calls for Ards to tighten up ahead of joust with Lurgan Blues

By Graham Luney

Ards boss Colin Nixon will demand greater concentration and focus from his defence in the Bet McLean League Cup or they risk being blown away by their goal hungry opponents.

Glenavon are the Premiership's top scorers with 31 strikes in 10 matches and they were too hot to handle for the Crusaders defence at the weekend, blasting in three goals in a stunning 26-minute opening spell.

Ards, meanwhile, are struggling to keep the back door shut, and a 6-3 loss at Ballymena United on Saturday underlined their defensive frailties. The north-Down men have only kept four clean sheets this campaign, one of which was a 5-0 hammering of Queen's University in the previous round of the League Cup.

And their rearguard will be kept on their toes at the Bangor Fuels Arena with the likes of Mark Sykes and Andrew Mitchell in menacing form.

"We nearly got ourselves back in the game a couple of times," said Nixon after being hit for six against the Sky Blues.

"I was disappointed to hear the half-time whistle because I felt we were playing really well, but it seems to be that we need to concede a goal before the shackles come off and we start passing the ball around because there's good football in this team.

"Our problem this season is that it has been fits and starts, we haven't done it for 90 minutes in a game and that is very disappointing."

Glenavon's weekend win moved them up to second in the Premiership and it's a squad brimming with confidence.

"We play with a high tempo and lots of energy," said coach Kris Lindsay. "Eight of our starting team were 23 or under, that's the joys of youth, they want to express themselves and attack.

"But we are strong from the back too. I said to Rhys Marshall and James Singleton before the Crues game go and show me you are the two best full-backs in the league and I think both were exceptional.

"Rhys is right up there with Billy Joe Burns as the two best full-backs in the league, in my opinion."

• Glentoran captain Marcus Kane has signed a new two-year deal that keeps him at The Oval until June 2020.

The midfielder has made 180 appearances for the Belfast club, scoring 20 goals, since his move from Linfield in July 2012.

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