FOOTBALL: King could ring the changes for derby

Stuart King has been impressed with the cameo performances of one young star. INBL1645-209PB
Stuart King has been impressed with the cameo performances of one young star. INBL1645-209PB

Banbridge Town manager Stuart King could well ring the changes for the big derby on Saturday.

Town host Newry City AFC (kick-off 2pm) in the Premier Intermediate League knowing a win could put them six points ahead of their local rivals, even if City do have two games in hand.

And even in a game of such magnitude, King hinted he wouldn’t have any qualms over giving a start to one of the club’s rising stars.

“I have decisions to make regarding my starting XI,” said King after last weekend’ 2-0 defeat to Newington.

“On Saturday, my bench was the strongest it has been probably this season.

“For instance, Stephen (McCavitt) has been outstanding when he’s come off the bench over the last six weeks or so.

“He was the same on Saturday. He creates opportunities and he shows that there are other people pushing for places in the team.

“I keep telling him to keep on doing what he’s doing. If I do put him in, it will be because he deserves it.

“The reserve team have given me six or seven players already who are part of my squad every week. They are the likes of Danny Devlin, Stephen (McCavitt) and Jordan Hayes, who are all Banbridge lads and are all improving all the time.

“When I took the job, I spoke of how I want to have the best local players in our team. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”

Town go into Saturday’s game four points off leaders Donegal Celtic and King is keen to ensure they don’t dwell on last weekend’s defeat.

“We know this is a massive game for us,” he said. “The first time we played them this season, we got our first point and that got the ball rolling.

“We know what derby games are all about and we know that we’re going to have to play to our best.

“We had a bad result against Dundela last month and won our next two games so if we can do that this time, we’ll be happy going into the new year.”

King took the opportunity of his side’s early kick-off last weekend to watch Newry lose to Lisburn Distillery, who Town play on New Year’s Eve.

“Distillery nullified Newry very well, they broke quickly and deserved the win,” he said.

“If we can play as well as Distillery did, hopefully we can get the same result they did but it’s going to be tough. Newry are one of the best teams in the league.”