Ballyclare Comrade manager Stephen Hughes always knew their September programme was going to be challenging.
The Comrades have the two relegated teams – Ballinamallard United and Carrick Rangers - and the two fancied title challengers – Portadown and Larne - coming up in quick succession.
But Hughes is quietly confident of getting a result this weekend against Portadown.
“We will go to Shamrock Park with no fear,” he predicted. “Portadown and ourselves have both drawn with Limavady recently, so a mighty battle is on the cards. Matthew Tipton has assembled a strong squad but we too have strength in depth, and I fancy our chances of getting something from the game,
“Portadown will have noted that we recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 against the Welders, and that we have seen off Ballinamallard, so they will be going all out to claim our scalp and end our undefeated league record.
“We have strength in depth this season and can replace like with like when necessary. Adam Gray and Michael McQuitty stepped in to fill the full back berths in the absence of Chris Creane and Curtis Woods, while Eoin Kane, Joe McWilliams and Jamie Willighan were ready-made replacements for Gary Donnelly, Gary Brown and Chris Trussell.
“With Larne playing Dundela this weekend, that means that the top four will be playing against each other, so these results will give an indication of our respective strengths, and all managers will be watching these results with interest.
“If we can come through this gruelling September schedule unbeaten we will be in a fantastic position,” he enthused.