Match Preview: Ballymena (h)
ARDS vs BALLYMENA UNITED
DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY AUGUST 18th - Kick Off 3pm
MATCH SPONSOR - ESQUIRE BARBERS NEWTOWNARDS
BALL SPONSOR - GOOD HEAT FUELS
By Stuart Dellow
Contrasting starts to the season for these teams,as Ballymena have picked up four points from two away games while Ards remain without a point from their opening fixtures. This is meant to be Ballymena's home fixture but as work is being done on the Showgrounds the fixture has been switched and Ards will travel to Ballymena on December 22nd.
Team selection might present manager Colin Nixon with a headache or two. Sean Noble looks like missing most, if not all of the season following his cruciate ligament injury early in the Glentoran game, while Elebert and Nelson, who were also injured during the first half last week, remain a doubt, Johnny Taylor, who missed most of the pre-season has yet to feature in competitive action. On a brighter note Josh Kelly will be available after missing last week due to suspension and for those who like omens or trends, Ards did manage to earn all six points in the two home games against Ballymena last season, winning 1-0 on both occasions. However both those goals were scored by Reece Glendinning who now plays for Ballymena.
Other familiar faces in David Jeffrey's squad include Willie Faulkner, Steven McCullough, Joe McKinney, James Knowles and Matthew Shevlin who have all featured for the Red and Blues in the not too distant past.
The Sky Blues have experienced many changes in personnel during the close season, having made some notable signings, alongside the aforementioned Glendinning they have added Ryan Mayse from Dungannon, James Knowles from Glentoran and ex Ballinamallard players Shane McGinty and Adam Leckey to the squad, although the latter spent 18 months in Australia after leaving the Ducks. On the other hand they have lost Kyle Owens, Gary Thompson and Conor McCloskey so they have done well to settle so quickly and pick up those early points.
Ards fans will be hoping for a positive result and the chance to build on that when newcomers Newry City visit on Friday 24th.