INSTITUTE: Niall Grace aware of need to move forward after John Quigg exit

Institute's Niall Grace. DER4417-114KM
Institute's Niall Grace. DER4417-114KM

Midfielder Niall Grace admits the player and his team-mates need to put the shock of John Quigg’s departure behind them and just focus on tomorrow’s league opener at Linfield, writes Kevin McLaughlin.

The Creggan man, who rejoined the club after a season at Glenavon, feels this squad needs to regroup and to try ensure ’Stute have another good season after what turned out to be a successful 2018/19 campaign.

“John going was a massive shock to all of us and we are obviously sorry to see him go, but we can’t dwell on that as we have to get on with things,” he insisted. “Hopefully, the club can get a new man in place soon, but that’s nothing to do with us, we as a squad just need to keep working hard and prepare for the Linfield game.

The 26-year-old feels that their game at Windsor Park against the champions is somewhat of a free hit for the Waterside men,

Grace also believes that the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium needs to be another huge success this season

“Obviously last year maybe sides were a wee bit surprised with us trying to play out from the back and trying to play football the right way, the way we see it,” he added. “We know it was a great season but that’s forgotten about now, it’s a new season and we have to start fresh.

“We have a change of personnel squad-wise and obviously we have lost big players in Mickey McCrudden and Ronan Doherty, so there are boys there now who have to try and fill those gaps and just try to step up to the mark.

“For a lot of people in the team it’s their first season in the Irish League, so it’s going to be a big challenge for them, but they are good enough and they are showing that in training and in the pre-season matches - everyone is buzzing for it now.

“Maybe this season teams and players will know what to expect in terms of the size of the Brandywell pitch, because it is massive.

“It’s probably one of the biggest in the league and it’s a good surface, where we’re going to try and play football.

“Last year they had some great results at home, obviously the Cliftonville game stands out, but this year we just want to kick on again and we have to try and make it a fortress, once again, this season.”