Reds aiming for a spot in last eight

Ballyclare's Andy Simms on the attack in the last week's 3-2 win over Limavady United. INNT 39-051-FP

Ballyclare's Andy Simms on the attack in the last week's 3-2 win over Limavady United. INNT 39-051-FP

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With a place in the quarter-final of the Steel and Sons Cup at stake, Ballyclare Comrades face a difficult challenge this weekend, writes George Brown.

Opponents, Drumaness Mills, currently sit in pole position in the Amateur League Premier Division, and with home advantage they could easily put their Championship Division 1 opponents through the mill.

Down through the years Comrades have learned to be wary of Amateur League sides, having lost out to Downpatrick Rec and Cromac Albion in finals in the late 1970s.

Their ground at Meadowvale in the village has been given a facelift recently, and with a new pavilion Drumaness now boast facilities on a par with more senior clubs.

Perhaps the players have been inspired by their up-to-date facility, but the Reds know they can take nothing for granted going into this one.

And manager Eddie Hill is all too aware of this potential banana-skin encounter.

“Top Amateur League sides usually have a professional set-up, and have a couple of players with Irish League (Premiership) experience, so I expect that Drumaness will be no different.

“However, I can assure Comrades fans that there will be no complacency. We will treat this one just the same as if we were taking on champions Cliftonville.

“Thankfully, except for Darren Doherty who will be out for a few weeks with a hamstring problem, we will be at full strength.

“Ricky Higgins and Mark Wilkinson scored for the Reserves and will be pushing for a spot in the first-team squad.”