Banbridge coach Mark Tumilty says his side’s next three league fixtures will go a long way to deciding the Ulster Premier Division title.
Bann travel to face third-placed Instonians on Saturday fresh from a 6-0 win over basement side NICS. They also take on Annadale and travel to main title rivals Lisnagarvey before Christmas.
Tumilty’s men are currently atop the table with a perfect record from their opening eight league games. They’ve already beaten all three of their upcoming opponents and their boss reckons three more positive results would all but secure the title.
He said: “There’s still work to be done and the next five weeks will be a big test for us. They’ll be key with regard to the Ulsters.
“If we’re still unbeaten come Christmas, I’d hope that would be the league done and dusted because I couldn’t see us dropping six points in the New Year.
“It’s always a difficult game at Instonians but if we produce the hockey that we’ve shown we can on Saturday, hopefully we’ll be fine.”
Tumilty will welcome Owen Magee and Drew Carlisle back into his senior squad this weekend.
“They’ll be a boost,” he said.
“It’ll be almost a full squad bar Dane Ward and Jonny McKee. We’ve had a lot of injuries. We only had 12 senior players available last Saturday but I haven’t had to rush anyone back in.
“We haven’t got a 20 man squad anymore so we’ve had to use schoolboys but that doesn’t worry me at all. We had eight of them in training last week and they were great. The likes of Aaron Reid, Adam Marshall and Jake Rowe among others have shown a lot of promise.”