Town ready for ‘long trek’ to Ballinamallard in the League Cup

Keeper Stephen Croft has his eye on Stephen Greene in a recent Town match �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1534-262EB
Keeper Stephen Croft has his eye on Stephen Greene in a recent Town match �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1534-262EB

Banbridge Town manager Ryan Watson says tonight’s (Tuesday) visit to Ballinamallard in the League Cup is ‘not ideal’.

Town have yet to get their league campaign fully up and running, with just one point on the board from three matches played, and with a league match against Sport & Leisure on Saturday, Watson says Saturday is a ‘priority’ for his side.

Chris McGrath goes aerial. INBL1534-260EB

Chris McGrath goes aerial. INBL1534-260EB

Despite this, the Town boss hopes his men can spring a surprise over their Premiership opposition tonight (kick off 7.45pm).

Speaking ahead of the match, Watson said: “It’s not ideal, travelling to Ballinamallard on a Tuesday night.

“It’s a long trek for us,” he commented.

“We’re missing quite a few players at the minute, so we’ll have five or six reserve team players with us.

“With players missing through holidays, injury or suspension, we’re down to the bare bones. It’s not ideal when you are going to play a Premiership team,” Watson added. “It’ll be a tough night for us, but we’ll give it a go.

“We’ll have to leave Banbridge very very early, but it will be a good experience for any young players coming along.”

Town will face a tough challenge when they meet Ballinamallard at Ferney Park, but Watson is hopeful his side can surprise their hosts, in the Cup fixture.

“Anything can happen in a Cup game,” he said. “But it would have been nice to up there with a full strength team.

“They have a great facility up there, a good pitch.

“We’ll have to be very much switched on and concentrate throughout and hopefully we can nick something.”

Looking ahead to their next league fixture, Watson said: “We have one eye on Saturday.

“We have to hope we don’t pick up any injuries or bookings to rule anybody else out on Saturday.

“Saturday is a priority,” Watson stated.

“We’ll have everybody in for training on Thursday night and get a body count and see what shape we’re in after Tuesday night.

“Sport & Leisure did very well in the league last year. They’ve started this season in the same vein of form.

“They are a very difficult side to play against,” the Town boss added.

“They’re a big strong outfit and can play both sides of the game.

“They can play the physical game but can also hurt you with their ability,” Watson explained.

“I’m very much looking forward to getting on track and getting our league campaign off the ground.

“I’m looking to get the best out of Saturday.

“We’re still striving for our first win, but we should have players back from holiday this weekend will hopefully be in a bit better shape.”

Town’s match against Ballinamallard United kicks off tonight, Tuesday September 1, at 7.45 pm.

Banbridge Town will then host Sport & Leisure Swifts on Saturday, September 5, in the NIFL Championship 2, kick off at 3.00 pm.