Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson is hoping that his side’s Irish Cup exploits of the last few seasons can continue this weekend.
The Sky Blues reached the final of the competition in 2014 and the semi-finals last year and Ferguson wants his players to continue their form in the Blue Riband knockout event.
United open their comapign with a trip to the National Stadium to face Linfield (3pm) before meeting the same opposition in the County Antrim Shield final three days later.
“The players have got to take a lot of confidence from the performance at Portadown on New Year’s Day,” said Ferguson.
“Hopefully in the next run of games the conditions will be a bit better and we can play a bit better and get the wins that we’re striving to get.
“The Irish Cup has a big part in my heart.
“Everyone wants to get to the cup final because it’s the showpiece day of the year so if the players can’t get themselves up for that, especially going to Windsor Park and the great stadium is is now, they shouldn’t be playing the game,” added Ferguson, who has completed the re-signing of locally-based defender Caolan Loughran, following a spell in America after which he had been playing in the Ballymena Saturday Morning League.
Loughran will bolster Ferguson’s defensive options after Gareth Rodger’s return to St Johnstone following the completion of his loan spell.
* Seven Towers Supporters’ Club transport to Saturday’s game leaves Henry Street car park at 1.45pm.
* United fans are reminded that tickets are required for this Saturday’s game and they can be bought from The Kiosk Newsagents at Ballymena Railway Station and Stirling Trophies, Queen Street.
* Supporters should also note that tickets are also required for Tuesday night’s County Antrim Shield final and they are available from the same outlets.