'Kids' and Gregg ready for kick-off

FORMER Liverpool legend and now BBC football pundit Alan Hansen famously said 'you never win anything with kids' - well just like Sir Alex Ferguson, Institute manager John Gregg is hoping to prove the Scotsman wrong.

Gregg believes 'Stute, who kick-off their Ladbrokes.com Championship campaign at Bangor, on Saturday (KO 3pm), have a chance of going straight back up to the Premiership, despite having a young squad.

"There is going to be a lot of youth through the squad this season, there will be a lot of young kids who we believe can both play in this league and bring the club forward," he said.

"I know it's a competitive, physical and hard league but we are willing to give the kids a chance and we also feel that there are good enough kids from the city.

"We had a good Foyle Cup side this year so there are some more good kids coming through and if we can develop these kids, then they'll have a bond with the club because they have come up through our ranks and we'll have a better chance to hold onto them."

In the 2006/07 season the Drumahoe club clinched the then First Division title, but as the manager points out the squad that campaign was a very experienced bunch of players.

"The last time we went straight back up, it was my first year as coach at the club; the only player that left was Tommy McCallion and the club gambled on us winning the league, but then it wasn't in the financial times, which we are in now," he added.

"The financial times now means that players have had to leave the club and we have also had to cut our budget drastically, but that's football. But as I have said if we can put the right players in the right areas and put a wee bit of maturity with them, then I feel we can get a half decent side out on the pitch."

The Waterside men travel to Clandeboye Park this weekend and already Gregg has quite a few players missing, with Thomas Wray, Ruairi McClean, Graham Taylor, Mark Nicell and Robbie Godfrey all absent this weekend.

"We have four players away on holidays and there is nothing we can do about that Graham Taylor, Ruairi and Mark, while Tommy is suspended and Robbie is injured with a hamstring problem, but it's the first game of the season and after pre-season the players should be looking forward to the game," said Gregg.

The 'Stute gaffer also concedes that this weekend's trip to the Seasiders is a tough start for his side, because he feels that they, with quite a few others are more than capable of pushing for the title.

"It's going to be very tough at Clandeboye because they are one of the sides who I have thrown their hat at trying to regain their Premiership status, because of the relaxation lessons of the laws in regards grounds and facilities.

"I also feel that Loughgall for sure will be up there because they have kept the same side, which won the league last year; Limavady United are strong, they were strong last year and I think they have only let the players go who they have wanted to go and they have strengthened; I also definitely feel Ards are making a very big, big push for promotion having spoken to their manager Tommy Kincaid."