New Ards boss Warren Feeney admits Saturday’s crucial game at home to Newry City is a ‘must not lose’ for his new charges.
It’s a veritable six pointer with the North Down side currently three points off Darren Mullen’s men at the foot of the Danske Bank Premiership.
Feeney knows that if they are to have any chance o surviving then they cannot afford to slip further behind their closest rivals.
“It’s probably a must not lose game for us on Saturday,” said the new Ards manager.
“I’m sure Newry will be looking at it as a chance to put Ards further behind, but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can get the right result.
“I know we will lose games along the way, but I don’t care who we play it’s eleven v eleven on the day.
“Yes some teams might have more quality, but it comes down to what you do with your players and how you get the best out of them.
“Saturday is a fantastic game to be involved in, I’m really relishing it.”
With Ards having won only three games all season Feeney knows that has to change, and quickly.
But the former Linfield boss certainly hasn’t given up hope of his new side staying up.
“People will be saying we’re down and this and that, but I’ll lay that challenge down to the players now to get themselves up and going again,” said Feeney.
“There’s going to be ups and downs, Ards have only won three games all year, and we will lose games, but we have to give ourselves a chance.
“We have to stop the rot. I have a points target, and that’s the challenge I will be putting to the players.
“Yes it hasn’t been easy but I’d ask the fans to get behind the team over these last nine games.
“The only way to get supporters back is by winning games of football. I’ve been brought up wanting to play football, but I think there’s ways and means given the situation we’re in at the minute.
“I remember fighting relegation at Bournemouth and the whole town came out behind us and helped keep us up.
“We have to get out and try everything to keep us up.
“All the players have to give everything in these last nine games, we cannot afford to carry anyone.”
Remarkably this will be the third time this season Newry City have faced a new manager in his first game.
Darren Mullen’s side took on Gary Smyth and Paddy McLaughlin in their first games in charge of Glentoran and Institute respectively - and they lost both.
The Newry boss knows three points this time around could prove vital come the end of the season, but he admits he’s not sure what Ards side they will be facing.
“We had them watched last Friday night and a report done, but that could go out the window with the new manager coming in,” said Mullen.
“However, we’ve never been over reliant on what teams can or can’t do because if you plan for one possibility you can get caught out.
“When a new manager comes in it more often than not gives teams a lift.
“This is the third time it has happened this season, but we can let that affect us, we have to concentrate on what we can do.
“Both teams know the importance of the game.
“If you win you go six points clear of them with a game in hand, and given where we are that would be huge for us. However, we don’t want to go there and lose because that gives them a lifeline.”