Belfast Telegraph

Only promotion back to top flight will do for Ards, admits Feeney


Clear ambition: Warren Feeney wants a Premiership return
Clear ambition: Warren Feeney wants a Premiership return

By Steven Beacom

Warren Feeney's ambition for the new season is clear - promotion to the Danske Bank Premiership, and if Ards go up as champions then even better.

Feeney's men have certainly started the way they mean to go on with a 4-0 win away to PSNI and a 1-0 success at home to H&W Welders taking them top of the Championship table ahead of Dundela on goal difference.

In contrast, the other team relegated last season, Newry City, have endured a disappointing opening to the campaign, losing first to the Welders and then on Tuesday night 4-3 to Loughgall at the Showgrounds.

Ards host Newry on Saturday and if Darren Mullen's side are defeated for the third time in succession, they will be nine points behind one of their promotion rivals.

Mullen will demand a reaction from his players. Feeney will want more of the same.

"I've been pleased with our start to the season, picking up two wins out of two and two clean sheets as well. Our two centre-backs, Johnny Taylor and Jamie McGovern, read the game so well," said Feeney.

"Newry will be a tough game for us but we are feeling positive going into it.

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"It was a blow for us to be relegated last season and now this season the plan is to bounce back. No matter what league you are in you want to win it, but there are big teams in this division and it will take a lot of hard work and quality for us to achieve our aim of promotion.

"Portadown have a bigger support than us and are a big club, so they will be up there. I think Newry are challengers as well and Dundela are another side to look out for. Like ourselves, they have started the season very well with two wins out of two.

"The aim for us is to win promotion and ideally go up as champions, but there are other teams that want to do the same.

"I'm a believer in the boys. We've a good bunch. I know it is early but I'm glad we have got off to a good start."

The other Championship match this weekend is also intriguing, with Portadown, on four points from six, facing Irish Cup finalists Ballinamallard at Ferney Park.

Matthew Tipton's side hammered Ballyclare 5-0 in midweek while Harry McConkey's team suffered their second loss on the trot, going down 2-0 to Ivan Sproule's Dergview. Both games start at 3pm on Saturday.

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