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Outstanding kids can help ignite Ards' season after Linfield win, says Nixon

 

By Alex Mills

Ards boss Colin Nixon believes his team's 1-0 Toals County Antrim Shield win over Linfield can help ignite their season.

The County Down club spooked David Healy's flops, who relinquished their grip on the trophy.

For a team that lifted three of the four domestic trophies on offer last season, they look disjointed, clueless and lacking in desire or passion.

Having already slumped 13 points adrift of Danske Bank Premiership leaders Coleraine, albeit with a game in hand, a huge question mark exists over their title defence.

Incredibly, they have now lost five of their last six games in all competitions. Little wonder Healy left the media in limbo and stormed away on Monday.

A jubilant Nixon, however, insisted he wasn't surprised that his young guns stood up to the test to secure Ards' first win at Windsor in 31 years.

"We made seven changes to the team that lost to Linfield on Saturday, but a lot of them were because of suspension and injury. I also rested a couple of lads," said Nixon. "I thought I'd give the kids a run and the likes of Ben Arthurs, Joshua Kelly, Jonah Mitchell and Adam McAleenan were outstanding.

"I've played these kids over the last few weeks and I really believe in them. I think they have got a good future, and hopefully it will be with Ards. I knew it would be a tough game, but I have to give credit to my team, they were outstanding.

"People keep telling me, in the position that we are in, that you have to beat the teams in and around you in the league table. To me, we have the quality at times to match any team. It's all about getting that bit of consistency and getting the players to believe in themselves. They did that against Linfield and they got their just rewards."

Nixon is calling on his team to build on the victory, adding: "We are now in the semi-finals, which is great for morale and confidence.

"But it's back to bread and butter at the weekend against Crusaders at our place. They don't come much tougher, but we have to take confidence from the Shield win.

"I should have a full panel to pick from, so I'll have a tough time pondering my selection."

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