By Chris Caldwell
OMAGH Accies coach Phil Marshall isn’t overly concerned about the end result when his side host Dungannon in Soni Ulster Premiership 2 on Saturday because that particular competition ‘means nothing’ to him.
His full focus is on an away trip to Bangor in 2C of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League a week later. However, after a three week break over Christmas following their impressive 12-19 win in Malahide, he is looking forward to getting back to action against a team from AIL 2B.
“It should be a good day at the club, I’m looking forward to all aspects of it,” he said.
“It will be good for us to test ourselves against a team from the league above, to prepare for the following week, to get the rustiness out of our legs and to get a good battering before Bangor, which is our main focus.”
Having cemented themselves in third place in 2C after that win in Dublin three weeks ago, the Accies are hoping to build on their impressive early season form when they visit the County Down cost on January 6 and while victory over Dungannon would be a nice warm-up, an injury free encounter on Saturday is Marshall’s main hope.
“There’s more significance to the fixture for the supporters, not for me or the team, it’s about them having local bragging rights, but even if Dungannon win, as long as I come out of it with no more injuries then I’ll be happy,” he explained.
“I’d like to beat Dungannon but it [the Ulster League] means nothing to me. I’ll be fielding my strongest team possible so we can be the best prepared we can for Bangor.
“It’s a warm-up game because if we finish the Ulster League with five defeats in five games and with no points, but have done well in the All-Ireland I’ll be happy,” he concluded.
The Accies squad to face Dungannon will be very similar to the one that defeated Malahide on December 9, with the Sproules, Jamie, Jonny and Matthew, along with Yonga Taleni, Ali Beckett and Neil Brown all likely to be unavailable due to various injuries and work commitments, while Stuart Allen is in contention to come into the squad.
Saturday promises to be an entertaining day on and off the pitch at the Thomas Mellon Playing Fields, with the action getting underway at 2.30pm, while there will be a woodfired pizza oven open all day and live music in the club house from 5pm.
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