David Healy programme notes
Posted : 24th September 2016
Ards will come to Windsor Park today in confident mood and full of belief that they can maintain their promising early season run of positive performances and results. They have certainly made a bright start to life in the Premier League after their promotion last season and I know that they will provide us with a formidable challenge this afternoon.
I saw Ards play in Ballinamallard last weekend and Niall Currie will have his team well organised and well drilled and they will give their all for each other and their manager in today's game. They've been competitive in every game they've played in this season and I've no doubt that that will be the case again today, so we will have to match their work rate and be on the very top of our game, if we are to earn the maximum points that we want and need from today's game.
Patience has been a key virtue for us in recent games and I expect it will be a vital quality for us in the weeks ahead. Teams have been coming here well organised and boosted by the opportunity of playing at this magnificent stadium and we've had to be patient in breaking down and overcoming their stubborn resistance.
I was pleased with our 4-1 home victory in our last home league game against Portadown. We only led 1-0 at the interval but the crucial second goal arrived early in the second half through Mark Stafford and we were able to add further pleasing goals from Paul Smyth and Aaron Burns to emphasise our overall advantage.
Last week in Carrick, we again had to be patient drawing 0-0 at half-time, before we scored two pleasing second half goals through Ross Gaynor and Aaron Burns to earn us a deserved and important win.
In midweek we again had to be patient, drawing 0-0 at home to a well organised Donegal Celtic team in the County Antrim Shield but Reece Glendinning scored a fine second half goal to set us on the road to the second round draw and we added further good goals from Mark Haughey, Paul Smyth and Stephen Lowry, to seal a pleasing and professional win.
It was a game that allowed me to give valuable and much needed game time to several players who haven't had as much match action as they would have wanted. It was an opportunity to give several young players game time, with Jonny Frazer again impressing and competitive first team debuts earned by Cameron Stewart and two promising young Swifts' players, Lewis Houston and Ryan Strain. Ryan almost scored with his first touch and he looked lively and was certainly not overawed by the occasion or the surroundings.
I watch as many Swifts' games as I can and it was great to be able to reward the effort of young players such as Ryan and Lewis with progression to the first team for the midweek win in the Shield.
We are on a good run at the minute and we want to maintain that form in what we know will be a tough game against Ards today. After today's game, we will turn our attention to a run of tough but eagerly anticipated away games, with big league games on the horizon away to Glentoran, Cliftonville and Coleraine, as well as big cup games away to Queen of the South and Ballymena.
It's an important period in our season and it's a time when we will need the full and positive backing, encouragement and patience of all our supporters, to help us achieve our targets in every game we are involved in, so please get behind each and every one of our players on duty today and in the weeks ahead.