IRISH LEAGUE: Whyte is expecting another ‘Ard’ battle

Gavin Whyte is hoping Crusaders can keep their good form going against Ards. �INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
Gavin Whyte is hoping Crusaders can keep their good form going against Ards. �INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

Winger Gavin Whyte knows if Crusaders don’t get an early goal then it may turn out to be a long afternoon at Ards, tomorrow.

In the last few season’s, Stephen Baxter’s side have struggled at Ards and Whyte is expecting another tough test on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a tough game, it always is again Ards,” he said.

“Only a few weeks ago we drew with them and then last year we only beat them in the last minute twice.

“They are a decent team and we always find it tougher at their place then we do at Seaview, so as I said it’s going to be tough for us.

“They sit deep and it’s hard for us to break them down, they also all work very hard for each other and whenever myself or Paul (Heatley) get the ball, there’s always two players right on you and you never have any time on the ball.

“I expect them to play the same way, have lots of players behind the ball and look to try and hit us on the counter attack.”

Having lost to Glenavon a few weeks ago, the Crues have bounced back well recording an impressive four wins in a row and Whyte wants that run to continue at Ards.

“I think that defeat to Glenavon seemed to spark us into life and hopefully we can keep our run going,” he stated.

“We just need to keep working hard and hopefully the wins will continue.”

During their recent run the Seaview men had an impressive and deserved win at champions Linfield, with Whyte that night running the show at Windsor Park.

The winger did concede that the victory at the Blues was a big result for him and team-mates.

“It’s always good to go to Windsor and get a win,” he insisted,

“We didn’t beat Linfield last season, so we needed to bounce back and beat them this year and thankfully we did that.

“I was pleased with my own performance that night.”

At the minute the Crues sit a massive 11 points behind leaders Coleraine, although they have played a game less, nevertheless Whyte knows they need to keep on winning and hope that the Bannsiders slip up at some stage.

“We just have to keep on winning and hopefully other teams can do us a favour,” he added. “Coleraine are flying at the minute and in fairness they are playing some good stuff.

“At the minute Coleraine have that wee buzz about them and everything is going for them, but it’s still very early in the season.”

The Hatchetmen will be without Philip Lowry for a number of months after he broke his arm in their mid-week County Antrim Shield win over old rivals Cliftonville, while Michael Carville is also struggling with a groin injury.

As for Ards, they go into the clash fresh from a super win at Linfield but midfielder Scott Davidson is still missing through illness, however on the plus side trio Johnny Taylor, Craig McMillen and Kyle Cherry all return from suspension and Reece Glendinning also comes back into the manager’s plans after he missed the mid-week win at Windsor Park.