Banbridge Town’s defence hold the key to unlocking the locals’ survival.
Ahead of Saturday’s game against Moyola at Crystal Park (kick-off 3pm), Town boss Ryan Watson has challenged his back-line to return to the form that saw them keep five clean sheets in six league matches earlier in the season.
He knows they’ll have their work cut out for them this weekend against Chris Dowie, a formidable Championship Two striker.
He said: “Moyola are a good, solid team and they’re capable of beating anybody on their day.
“Chris is a proven goal-scorer at this level and he’s started to hit form in recent weeks. I’ll be looking at my centre-backs to keep him quiet.
“We have to be defensively solid. At the other end, we have the players to create chances and score goals and we need the defence to create that base again. Their clean sheets were the platform for our unbeaten run.”
Town are looking to bounce back to form after a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Tobermore last time out.
“We need to get that defeat out of our systems and get back on a good run. We need a response on Saturday,” said Watson,
“We know these next three games are massive.
“All season though, we’ve only been looking at it one game at a time and we’re fully concentrating on Moyola.”
Town’s recent selection headaches are easing for Saturday’s fixture with Chris McGrath and Tuda Murphy both back in contention, along with midfielder Kevin Anderson.
Striker Conor Downey could even be available again, although full-back Stuart Thompson is awaiting a scan on his knee injury.
“We have a lot of players to pick from,” said Watson, “and there are places up for grabs after the Tobermore game. Players need to play for the shirt in training.
“Players like Adam Pedlow and Jamie Smith got game-time with AFC and they’re itching to get back into the line-up now.
“We’ll see how training goes and then select the starting eleven.”