Ballyclare Comrades face tough opposition over a four-day period in the league and County Antrim Shield, but manager David Dorrian is philosophical.
The team are away to Ards in the league on Saturday, September 19, before a plum tie against Cliftonville in the first round of the County Antrim Shield at Dixon Park on Tuesday evening (September 22).
“Ards on Saturday followed by Cliftonville on Tuesday is a tough assignment, but thankfully we will be almost at full strength. Except for left-back Sandy McDermott we will have everyone available for the trip to Bangor to take on Ards,” Dorrian (inset) said.
Ballyclare enter this run of fixtures on the back of an away defeat against Dundela in a friendly on Saturday, but the manager insists that the game was all about giving players some much needed game time.
“Our fringe payers got a run out in the friendly against Dundela. We lost that one, but this match at Wilgar Park was all about accommodating players who were short of match time,” he explained.
After positive displays against Ards last season, drawing both home and away matches, Dorrian is relishing the game against a team he suspects will be challenging for promotion.
“I am confident that we will give them a run for their money. Ards made heavy weather of seeing off Barn United in the Steel and Sons Cup at the weekend, so that raises our hopes. We are looking forward to Saturday’s clash against a team that will be challenging for promotion again this season,” he added.
The match against Cliftonville on Tuesday will be a different prospect, but Dorrian is not going to be overawed as his side take on the holders.
“The best you can hope for in knockout competitions is to get a home draw and we have achieved that. Last season we knocked Linfield out of the League Cup, so the Reds will be wary of the possible banana-skin trip to Dixon Park,” he stressed.
Dorrian has encouraged the Ballyclare fans to come out and show their support for the home team on Tuesday evening.
“Cliftonville are likely to bring a good support, so I hope that our fans turn out in numbers.”