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Nixon taking nothing for granted in Ards' bid to avoid the drop

By Alex Mills

Ards boss Colin Nixon admits he'll not rest easy until his team's Danske Bank Premiership status is secured. Although the North Down club are a whopping 23 points ahead of basement side Portadown in the table, Nixon, brought up on a diet of success as a player at Glentoran, is leaving nothing to chance.

In fact, should Ards defeat Ballinamallard United tonight at the Bangor Fuels Arena, it would put them out of sight of the ailing Ports. It would also shoot them 15 points clear of 11th-placed Carrick Rangers and bring them level with his former club, Glentoran.

"This is a massive game against Ballinamallard," admitted Nixon. "We've had a few decent results of late, drawing 3-3 at Dungannon Swifts following a good 3-0 win at Portadown.

"However, both results came on the back of our worst display of the season when Carrick Rangers duffed us up 4-0. But the boys have shown character. They responded in the best possible way."

Having been eliminated from the Irish Cup, Ards were left kicking their heels last weekend, but that's where Nixon's professionalism surfaced.

"I had the boys in training and I worked them even harder," he said.

"I knew this game with Ballinamallard was looming. They are a club in a similar position to ourselves, so it's important we take points off the teams in and around us in the league table.

"I'm learning all the time. I've worked with some great managers in my playing days - I've learned a lot and I would like to think that I've picked up some good habits.

"My priority is to keep the club in the top flight. Yes, people will say we are well away from Portadown, but until it is mathematically sealed, I'll not be celebrating. My aim is to get us as far as possible away from the bottom places."

Nixon will again be without the suspended Kyle Cherry and Craig McMillan for tonight's game.

He added: "It's Craig's final game of a six-match ban for an alleged headbutt, while Kyle will also be back next week after serving a two-game suspension."

Nixon is only contracted to the end of the season, but he is confident of fulfilling the demands heaped on him and is hopeful of a longer term arrangement.

"I've always been ambitious and have a blueprint for the club in terms of the future," added Nixon.

"I want Ards to be challenging for trophies. I've agreed contracts with players and the board will be as ambitious as I am."

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