Banbridge Town can give their league campaign a big boost with a win this weekend.
That’s the hope of boss Ryan Watson, despite their match on Saturday being in the Intermediate Cup.
Bann take on Derriaghy Cricket Club at Crystal Park (kick-off 1.30pm) hoping to forge their way through to the last 16 of the competition.
And the boss reckons an extension of their Cup run could fire them on to hop up the Championship Two league table.
“The league is our priority and we are concentrating on getting as many points on board as possible but a cup run is always a welcome distraction,” he said.
“A cup run could really help us in the league as well.”
Opponents Derriaghy, however, won’t make it easy. Among their ranks, they have former Glenavon goal-scorer Marty Verner and ex-Portadown and Ballymena forward Jordan Baker. Former Town man Aaron Baker is also in their squad while Bann will have to find a way past player-manager Marc Robinson in nets, another ex-Glenavon man.
“They’ve got a very good squad with a lot of experience,” admitted Watson.
“Plenty of their guys have played at a higher level. They can certainly attract strong players and they’ll cause us a big threat.”
Derriaghy are currently third bottom in the Northern Amateur Football League Premier Division but they’re fresh off the back of a 7-1 victory over Islandmagee.
“It’s a very, very hard competition to do well in,” said Watson ahead of his side’s second tie against an Amateur League side.
“All we can do is concentrate on winning the ties when they come along.
“We’re happy enough to be drawn at home this time.”
“It’ll be a tough game though,” continued Town boss Ryan Watson.
“We found that against Albert Foundry and this will be no different. We’re really going to have to dig in and out battle them as well as out play them if we are to get the right result.
“The boys did really well in the first round before Christmas and it would be great if we could get another good result on Saturday. We’re at home and we go into it with confidence. We’ll get the guys well prepared this week.”
Town will be without the suspended Mark Teggart while Stephen Jones is unavailable due to injury.
“There are a lot of good teams left in the competition at the minute,” said Watson, who is looking no further than Saturday’s tie.
“There are plenty of Championship One teams still in the draw and some of the top Amateur League sides as well, who are always very difficult to beat.”
Town go into the game on the back of two promising results that saw them pick up a draw with Ballymoney and a win over Coagh United.
“It’s just a disappointment that we didn’t get playing last Saturday because we had a bit of momentum going with the last couple of results.
“To come out of that and then have no game at all really sums up what has been a very stop-start season.”