Banbridge Town must get a win on Saturday if they’re to avoid their season petering out in the new year.
It’s the last knock-out competition left after their Irish Cup exit and, hosting Albert Foundry in the third round at Crystal Park on Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm), they want to make it a long campaign.
“The league is the most important thing and we’re very focused on that but we need to have regular games,” said boss Ryan Watson.
“After Christmas, the Intermediate Cup takes precedence and there are that many rounds in it. If we’re not in it, we could find league games postponed with other teams still in the Cup and it could become a bit stop start.
“We want to be involved in the next round and we’ll be very focused on Saturday.”
Foundry are currently sitting eighth in the Amateur League Premier Division, unbeaten so far.
They’ve picked up four wins and three draws and will, Watson knows, provide stiff opposition for his charges.
“By all accounts, you would think this is a game we should be winning but all Amateur League teams are very hard to beat,” he said.
“A lot of them are just as good as Championship teams and some would probably do very well in the Championship.
“Albert Foundry are having a fairly good season so far and we’ll expect them to be very physical, as Amateur League sides usually are.
“It should be an interesting day all round but we’re looking forward to it.”
Town will be without Stephen Jones, who went off injured early on in last Saturday’s Irish Cup defeat to Ards. Nathan Baird sat out that game and Town will assess his fitness ahead of this weekend’s tie.
“We’re at home and we go into it off the back of a good experience on Saturday,” said Watson.
“Hopefully we picked up a few tips that we can use to tighten up, particularly defensively but we’ll be going all out to get the victory this weekend.
“We’ve got a few knocks again but we’ll regroup this week and be ready to go come Saturday afternoon.”