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In The Press: Blair thrilled with duo

Taken from the Londonderry Sentinel:  INSTITUTE manager Allan Blair felt new signing Mark Kelly gave his side a new dimension and helped them pick-up three valuable points, at Larne, on Saturday.

 The striker not only netted a second half double, but his all round game and work ethic resulted in an impressive victory at Inver Park.

“Big Mark coming in up front gave us a different option and he was the difference on Saturday,” he said.

“We have been playing within ourselves particularly over the last few weeks, but on Saturday the boys worked hard and although we tell them every week to work hard, they did it at Larne and got the result and that is what they have to learn.

“At the end of the day this league is all about hard work, because if you win the battle the quality will come through and that’s what happened on Saturday.

“To be honest we also had that little bit of luck at Larne, which we have normally been missing out on and that was nice. It was also nice to get three goals and keep a clean-sheet, particularly away from home.”

Blair was also quick to praise ex-Coleraine man Joe Gray, like Kelly was making his ’Stute debut, showed all his experience in his unaccustomed centre-half position.

“Joe was immense, he was playing out of position but I felt he was excellent, he did everything simple and showed all his experience by consistent talking to our back-four.

“Mark was also excellent and worked his socks off up front, until he took a knock and this result will give everyone a boost. Young Gareth (Smith) also came off the bench to score.

“Myself and Paul (Carlyle) felt we needed someone up front in place of Mark, who was going to be an obstacle and Gareth was the biggest player we had on the bench, so we threw him on and thankfully it worked.

“Hopefully this result will drive us on and we take it into the Loughgall game, this Saturday, where we work hard and hopefully get another three points,” concluded Blair.

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