New boy James Knowles has given Ards boss Niall Currie a selection headache after sustaining leg injury in training, ruling him out of Saturday’s Premiership clash against Glentoran at Clandeboye Park (5.30pm).
The midfielder was snapped up on a loan basis from Linfield along with goalkeeper Alan Blayney during last month’s transfer window.
It’s another massive blow to the basement boys – they are now 11 points adrift of second-bottom Ballinamallard United. It’s now highly unlikely they’ll escape relegation – or a dreaded place in the play-off.
“We are constantly clutching at straws,” admitted Currie. “James has been feeling the injury for a few weeks and aggravated it in training – he’ll probably be out for a fortnight, or so.
“It just adds to our woes. He is one of five players missing for the Glentoran match, while Sean Cleary has been off work for a week because of the flu and he hasn’t trained either.”
Currie, whose team crashed to a 3-1 defeat to Glenavon last time out following an unbelievable 3-3 draw at Linfield, is targeting three points against the East Belfast side.
“We got our tactics spot on the last time we played them at Clandeboye and battled out a scoreless draw,” said Currie.
“In fact, Willie Faulkner had a great chance near the end to win it. We have improved greatly all over the pitch since that game – the new signings have made a big difference on and off the pitch.
“Conor Downey is a class act and he brings something different to the table. I’m not into making excuses, but injuries have killed us.
“There has hardly been a game I haven’t been without at least five players – and on a few occasions as many as nine.
“It’s been impossible to get any consistency because we haven’t been able to nominate the same two in successive weeks.
“Although the game has a late kick off, hopefully, our supporters will come out and give us the backing they showed throughout the season. It means a lot to the players.”
With Glens boss Eddie Patterson laid-up due to illness, his assistant Tiernan Lynch will again take charge of the side.