ARDSTRAW boss Nigel Boyd said his players won’t be short of motivation going into today’s derby clash against Strabane Athletic.
According to the Vaughan’s Holm supremo his team underperformed in a 3-1 league defeat earlier in the season to their rivals and Saturday’s League Cup clash offers them the opportunity of redemption, not to mention the fact that a win would go a long way to securing a place in the festive final.
Ardstraw are unbeaten in the competition thus far and along with Dungiven Celtic, Maiden City and Newtowne are well placed to reach the showpiece decider. In stark contrast their opponents Strabane are somewhat strangely out of the running having won just two of their five games and have no chance of progressing.
The fact Eamon Curry’s team have nothing to play for won’t, according to opposite number Boyd, make an iota of difference.
“It’s always our toughest game and that won’t change,” he said.
“The fact Strabane can’t qualify won’t really be a factor. It’s a local derby and Eamon Curry will be sending his team out to win.
“They have a massive squad and whoever gets the nod they will be out to beat us. That goes without saying. We’d have it no other way.
“That said we won’t be short on motivation either. The last time we played them we didn’t really turn up, get amongst them. We underperformed and we’ll want to give a better account of ourselves this time around.
“For us it’s also an opportunity to put one foot in the final. We’ll have another opportunity when we play Dungiven at home in our final game.
“Three points will earn us a play-off to secure a place in the final and four points will be enough.
“It’s been three years since we have contested the final and everyone will be trying hard to reach it again. It would be great for everyone at the club.”
Sammy McKelvey and Jamie Adams will both be suspended for today’s game after being sent off in the game against Newbuildings 12 days ago.
That is something of a setback for ‘Straw given that McKelvey scored twice in that particular game and Adams has been performing well since the start of the season.
On a positive note the returning Robbie Godfrey is likely to play some part on Saturday while Darren Boyd, Nigel’s brother, could be back playing this side of Christmas following a period out with illness.
“Darren has recovered well and it’ll be good to have him back,” added the Ardstraw chief.
“It’s disappointing Sammy and Jamie are suspended, they had been very influential lately.”
Strabane will go into today’s derby buoyed by an impressive 4-1 victory against Newbuildings at Melvin.
Goals by Adam McCrea, Oran McShane and Kyle Harte set Athletic on their way before Aaron Brennan completed the scoring with a stunning 25-yard strike which flew into the top left hand corner of Le Moignan’s net.
Ricky Lee Dougherty had earlier equalised for the visitors.