Cliftonville are on the road again this weekend and boss Barry Gray expects Ards to provide a stern test at The Bangor Fuels Arena.
The Reds’ midweek success over Carrick Rangers made it four consecutive victories without conceding a goal during a sequence that has produced nine wins from 11 outings – but Gray is taking nothing for granted ahead of the trip to North Down.
“It’s been a testing week and having a match on Wednesday meant we’ve had a busy few days in the build-up to the weekend,” he explains.
“We were in for training on Tuesday to prepare for Carrick and, thankfully, we didn’t have much to look over from the Ballinamallard game. Then Thursday’s a combination of looking back over Carrick and getting prepared for Ards, so there’s been a lot of work.
“Ards are a team capable of surprising anyone and we’ve seen that from some of their results lately, which means we’ll have to be on top of everything.”
Colin Nixon’s side were also in midweek League Cup Quarter Final action and, as they bid to bounce back from defeat to Ballymena United, Gray has called on his players to hit the level of performance supporters have grown accustomed to seeing in recent times.
“We’ve been doing really well of late and it’s all about continuing that,” he adds.
“The strikers have been scoring goals and everybody – not just the defence – is playing their part in the clean sheets we’ve been keeping, but we’ll need to keep working that hard if we want the results to keep coming.”