Belfast Telegraph

Smyth surprised by the timing of Nixon's Ards axe

Glentoran manager Gary Smyth
Glentoran manager Gary Smyth

By Steven Beacom

Glentoran manager Gary Smyth has revealed he thought Colin Nixon may have been given one more match to try and save his job as Ards boss.

Rather than going head to head with his former team-mate, Smyth will now be up against Warren Feeney when Ards travel to the Oval tomorrow.

With Ards at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership, Nixon was sacked last month and ex-Northern Ireland star Feeney took over. He had an immediate impact, winning his opening game in charge 3-1 against Newry and jumping above the border club in the table.

While Ards continue to fight for their lives, the Glens are also determined to finish the season strongly, with Smyth targeting seventh spot.

The irony is that Nixon was offered the Glentoran manager's job last season but opted to stay where he was.

"I don't know the ins and out but I thought Colin would have maybe been given the chance to be in charge for the Newry game. I felt it was a little strange he didn't get a crack at that match," said Smyth.

"As for our game, we are at home and will look to stamp our authority on it. They have a new manager and obviously got a great result against Newry, but the fact is Ards still have the same players and they have been down around the bottom all season so we will want three points."

Glentoran's last fixture was a 3-1 home success over Warrenpoint Town a week-and-a-half ago, with Smyth reflecting: "We had a couple of good chances in the first five minutes and then I'm not sure we touched the ball for the next 15 minutes.

"The match with Ards is an important one for us and we have to play well throughout."

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