Belfast Telegraph

Next manager at Oval must have Glentoran DNA, says Nixon

By Graham Luney

Oval legend Colin Nixon has stated that the next permanent manager at the club needs to have 'Glentoran DNA'.

Following the sacking of Gary Haveron on Tuesday, former Portadown boss Ronnie McFall has taken over the post until the end of the season but Ards supremo Nixon is one of the frontrunners to be offered the chance to return to the east Belfast outfit in the summer.

Other names in the frame include Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree and Warrenpoint Town's Matthew Tipton.

Nixon, though, is favoured by many fans who feel with his history at Glentoran and the promising job he has done at Ards he is the ideal candidate.

Ironically, Haveron's last match in charge of the Glens was against Nixon last Friday with Ards winning 2-1 at The Oval. Some home supporters were chanting Nixon's name after the game with others demanding Haveron's exit and questioning the board.

Nixon is one of the finest players ever to pull on a Glentoran shirt. He was there from 1995 to 2013, made a record number of appearances, captained the side and won every domestic trophy going including four league titles.

Speaking on Cool FM's BetMcLean Football Show, Nixon said: "The expectations at Glentoran have never changed. Maybe they haven't won the trophies they would have liked in recent times but the fans still have that expectation. It's very hard to live up to that expectation and it's a very demanding job. It's a club that needs woken up from a slumber."

On the next boss, he added: "It would need to be someone with a bit of Glentoran DNA, there's no question about that. I wouldn't see it as a poisoned chalice. It's got the fanbase and Glentoran are still a massive club. It just needs a wee spark."

If offered the post it would be hard for Nixon to turn the Glens job down, but he made the point that he is enjoying his role at Ards and is fighting hard to keep them safe in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Ards are currently ninth in the table, just two points behind League Cup winners Dungannon. More importantly, they are 17 points clear of bottom side Ballinamallard and 13 in front of second-bottom Carrick Rangers.

Ahead of today's game at home to Linfield, Nixon said: "Our main aim was to retain our position in the Premiership and that is within sight but there is still a lot of hard work to do."

Meanwhile, Ards defender Michael Ruddy believes his side have nothing to fear when Linfield visit this afternoon.

The 24-year-old, who joined Ards in the summer of 2016 from Ballymena United, finished third in the January Player of the Month nominations, as Coleraine's Gareth McConaghie claimed the prize.

"I was suspended for three games but am available for the Linfield one," said Ruddy.

"I had a bad start to the season and broke my big toe in work and it was a horrendous injury.

"I missed a chunk of the early matches but hopefully I can get a run of games now and get back to my best.

"Things were going well until I got sent off against Loughgall in the Irish Cup, a game which was disappointing all round.

"We have a very good starting XI and a strong panel of 13 players but after that there's a reliance on younger, inexperienced players.

"If we lose three or four senior players, that's when we could struggle but when the boys perform then we are a match for anyone.

"The win over Glentoran shouldn't be a big surprise and hopefully we can get the better of Linfield too.

"We have beaten the Blues already this season at Windsor Park and we've beaten Glentoran twice at The Oval.

"There's no fear when you know what you're capable of as we have performed really well recently against the so-called Big Two.

"Hopefully we can climb up the table. I don't think we are realistically looking at claiming the seventh spot and a possible European place but you need to set your sights high and see where it takes you."

Belfast Telegraph

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