INSTITUTE manager Paul Kee wants his players to be devoted to their promotion chasing cause.
The Drumahoe club face in-form Loughgall at the Riverside Stadium, this Saturday (KO 3pm) and Kee is hoping his squad can get back to winning ways.
“The next thing that I feel we need is to get a hard core of players who are totally devoted to the cause,” stated Kee.
“I think once we get that then we aren’t going to be that far away.
“We have to try and win as many matches as we can, but there is no question that Loughgall, Warrenpoint Town and Dundela have hit good form, they are winning every week, but that adds to the nature of the league, because it’s a competitive league.
“I would say now at the half-way point in the season, there is about half a dozen teams who will be challenging for the top two spots and our aim is to try and stay in and around those top two spots in and around going into the New Year.
“We are learning all the time and I think we definitely have learned a lot from their first 12 matches.”
Although the Waterside men currently sit five points behind leaders Ards, who also have two games in hand, Kee isn’t throwing in the towel in regards trying to clinch the title, but he does concede Niall Currie’s team are in a strong position.
“Well it’s Ards’ title to lose, but they aren’t a bad side, they showed that on Saturday. They have good endeavour and commitment and if I’m to be honest they have a lot of stuff which I’m kind of envy off, which I would like to be at our place, but in saying that we aren’t that far away.
“We need to get a bit more beef in one or two areas and once we get that we’ll be fine. It’s not just about ability, because I feel there is enough ability in our team and on our given day we are as good as anyone in the league, but we just need to keep building on the character of the team.”
Kee, who is expecting a tough encounter against Colin Malone’s out-fit, who have won four of their last five games, currently sit four points behind ’Stute, but they have played a game less, will have duo Paddy McLaughlin and Michael McCrudden available for selection again after suspension.
“Loughgall are on a decent run and they have brought in four or five players. Iam McFaul went and watched Loughgall for us and he said that they weren’t a bad side.
“Both Paddy and Michael are available, but in fairness on Saturday the two centre-backs did well. (John) Curran had a good second half, after a bit of a shaky start, while (Dean) Jarvis has been playing quite well, whoever he has been playing alongside.
“John obviously will expect to play but we’ll see how things materialise at training this week, but we are getting players who are now gaining fitness and form at a key time for us and that can only be good.
“At the end of the day if we sort ourselves mentally, focused and we are prepared then we are a match for any team particularly at home, whether that’s Ards or whoever,” concluded Kee.