Cliftonville boss Barry Gray and Ards manager Colin Nixon expecting close encounter at Solitude

Barry Gray
Barry Gray

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray and Ards boss Colin Nixon are expecting a battle of wills when their two sides clash at the Solitude in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday afternoon.

Nixon’s men were beaten 2- 0 by league leaders Glenavon on Tuesday night while the Reds were 3-2 winners against Ballymena United last weekend.

The visitors have been decimated by injuries to their forwards while Gray’s men have been slightly below the high standards they set for themselves.

And Gray says it will be a tight encounter when the two sides meet.

“Ards are always hard to beat and they are very good at containing sides. They have injuries to their attackers so they will be well set-up and hard to break down. But we are on a two-game winning streak and we want that to continue.

“After the last minute defeat to Warrenpoint the lads put in a good performance against Ballymena but we conceded two sloppy goals.

“We will be looking to do better but this will be a tight game,” said Gray.

And Nixon indicated that his side would try to stifle Cliftonville on their home patch.

“It is no secret we have a number of attacking players out because of injury but we will have to carry on regardless.

“I think they boys have done well and there hasn’t been a game where we have been out-played. We have had to set-up the team to what we have available to us and we were on a good run there until the defeat to Glenavon.

“But to be honest we were well in the game until they scored. Cliftonville are a good side with loads of threat up-front but we will give it a go,” said Nixon.