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Nixon will blood youth in bid to build up experience

Carrick Rangers 0-1 Ards

By Steven Beacom

Ards boss Colin Nixon plans on playing more of his young guns for the remainder of the campaign in a bid to prepare them for next season.

After overcoming a strong start from Carrick Rangers on Saturday, Ards scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time through Michael McLellan to celebrate Nixon’s new three year deal in style.

Having turned down the chance to manage his former team Glentoran last week, Nixon, who steered Ards to Premiership safety months ago, is keen to build on what he has achieved, and that means blooding youngsters coming through the Academy for their remaining matches at home to Ballinamallard and Dungannon Swifts.

“We are building for the future now and we had a really young dressing room at Carrick and reflecting on it I’m glad I’m staying because I want to see these players develop,” said Nixon.

“It’s a happy dressing room. The players were giving me a bit of stick on Saturday, especially Johnny Fraser, after all that has gone on but I enjoy that and we are all ready to move on together.

“I will put more young kids in for our last two games to see how ready they are for this level of football. They have the talent and I want to see youngsters come through our Academy and prove successful for the club.”

Having defeated Carrick, the next match for Ards against Ballinamallard this weekend could be decisive in the relegation battle. As for Carrick Rangers, their biggest match of the season to date will come tomorrow night at Ballinamallard, who are now just one point behind David McAlinden’s side with three games left.

CARRICK: Doherty, Smyth, Edgar, McNally, Chapman, Taggart, Glackin, Kottoy, Hassin, Henderson, McNulty. Subs: Anau (Hassin, 51 mins) Smith (Glackin, 72 mins), Larmour (McNulty, 81 mins), McAllister, Morrow.

ARDS: Johnston, Glendinning, McAleenan, Byers, Ruddy, Mitchell, Cherry, Kelly, Frazer, Stewart, McLellan. Subs: Brown (Mitchell, 69 mins), McKenna (McLellan, 76 mins), Hanley, Tommons, Kelly.

Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon)

Man of the match: Jonny Frazer

Match rating: 6/10

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