ON Saturday Strabane Athletic will have the perfect opportunity to measure exactly how much progress they have made under current manager Eamon Curry when they locks horns with Knockbreda in the fifth round of the Tennents Irish Cup.
Athletic has enjoyed a very encouraging season thus far. The North Tyrone outfit are unbeaten in the league, have reached the final of the Northern Ireland Intermediate League Cup as well as putting together an impressive Irish Cup run that leads them to Breda Park this weekend..
In various knockout tournaments Athletic have accounted for PIL sides, Banbridge and Portstewart, and St James’ Swifts, a team which harbours ambitions of playing Championship football in the not to distant future.
Belfast side Knockbreda, though, will present Athletic with their toughest challenge yet, and following the draw back last month, Curry admitted as much.
“It’s an in betweener,” he said.
“If you get one of the big boys that gives you a day out to look forward to as much as anything else.
“This tie represents the next step up for us. We have beaten Banbridge and Portstewart this season, Championship Two sides, and St James’ Swifts who might as well be.
“We’ll have them watched, get as much information on them as we can and put together a game plan to try and win the tie. We’re looking forward to it.”
The tie itself has caught the imagination of the Athletic faithful with a few bus loads of supporters set to make their way to the big smoke.
They will travel cautiously optimistic that their team can cause something of a shock against the mid-table Championship opponents. The Tyrone visitors certainly won’t been overawed by the occasion, given they have no shortage of experience within their ranks. Kick-off 1.30pm.
FULL STORY IN TODAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE