DESPITE missing a number of key players, Mountjoy United boss David Gilfillan is hopeful that his team can come through a tricky third round fonaCAB Irish Junior Cup clash at Portrush on Saturday.
For the trip to north coast Gilfillan has four players unavailable as well as four missing through injury, yet, he insists it’s an opportunity for a number of other players to stake a claim for a first team place.
The Ports are sitting fourth in the Coleraine and District League and after a poor start to the season would appear to be on an upward trajectory. Still Gilfillan believes there is enough quality in his squad to book a place in round four.
“We have nothing to lose, some boys have something to prove so hopefully it all adds up to a positive result and a place in the fourth round,” he said.
“Fringe players are going to get their chance on Saturday and, in truth, given we are down bodies I’m relieved it’s a Junior Cup game and that there aren’t any league points at stake, if that makes sense.
“Hopefully some of them can step up and put themselves in the frame for a league game against Kesh the following week.
“From what I can gather Portrush are on a decent run of form at the minute, after a poor start to the season. It’s hard to get a real read into what standard they might be.
“They are scoring plenty of goals recently and, of course, we’ll have to adjust to that wee tight pitch up there.
“We are going into this game in similar curcumstances to last year when we pulled out a good performance and result against Lower Shankill. On that occasion we were at home but still we’re quietly confident we can get a result.”
There are a total of nine ties down for decision involving local sides, the pick of which is the all-Fermanagh and Western clash between Ballinamallard United U20s and Enniskillen Town United in the late kick-off at Ferney Park (6.30pm).
Elsewhere twice winners Strathroy Harps go to Sandy Hill, Tummery Athletic host Kelvin OB while Omagh Hospitals entertain Newry Celtic, who defeated Killen Rangers 2-1 in the last round.
Strule United leave their league worries behind them as they visit Bangor YM, NFC Kesh are also on the road to St Mary’s YC II while Irvinestown Wanderers make the journey to Clough Rangers.
Back-to-back champions Enniskillen Rangers should have little trouble accounting for St Teresa’s at the Ball Range. All ties kick-off at the earlier time of 1.30pm.