Ballymena United visit Newry City tonight in the Carling Premiership (7.45) but the pertinent question hanging in the air around Warden Street is not where the next three points is coming from.
After an inconsistent start to the 2009-2010 season, Sky Blues boss Roy Walker knows he has issues to address on the pitch but they pale into insignificance compared to other harsh realities at the club.
The pertinent question now facing Ballymena United and all its loyal followers is does the club have a future?
United are grappling with significant financial difficulties and there are fears the club could go bust.
Club officials will say that rumours of their death are greatly exaggerated but there is no doubt that money is tight and United’s financial health has taken a battering.
The Sky Blues are now exploring the possibility of following Crusaders’ example of putting down a 4G playing surface to generate fresh funds but the pitch would be placed beside the Showgrounds rather than within the main arena.
However, Ballymena Borough Council could yet kick that proposal into touch.
Efforts to boost fundraising are being stepped up and it is hoped that more supporters will purchase shares to alleviate financial woes.
And without doubt, Walker will have to so some wheeling and dealing in January to cut costs.
A failure to finish in the top six of the Premiership this season or achieve a good Irish Cup run will also hit the club hard.
These are troubled financial times for all Irish League clubs but United appear to be dodging the icebergs more than most.
Sky Blues secretary Don Stirling admitted the club is in financial trouble but he is confident it will not disappear from the local football landscape.
“There is a shortage of money at Ballymena United, that is very true,” he said. “Roy’s (Walker) hands are certainly tied and he will have to do plenty of wheeling and dealing in January which he is good at.
“There is certainly less money around now than in the past. A lot of spending on players has not worked out and sometimes getting rid of players can cost money as contracts have to be paid.
“The 4G pitch is something the club is considering as there are financial benefits to having one but the talks about that are at a very preliminary stage. Having something available to use 24 hours a day and seven days a week would be very useful. That’s the way to go.
“It’s a project which is likely to be expensive and the Council may reject the idea so it’s in the early stages of that happening.
“The club is a limited company with shares and there was a meeting with shareholders last week when it became clear that more shares would be made available.
“Money is tight and the club has financial problems but I would not say it is close to folding. Roy will be asked to trim his budget.
“Things have to change but there is no financial crisis facing us. Our big ambition is to make the top six and enjoy a good cup run which will boost the finances.
“There are also very talented young players at the club like Michael Smith and Lee Colligan who could be gold mines for us as they are certainly good enough to play across the water.”
Stirling also wants to know how other clubs can stay in business despite paying out substantial wages and he is upset when the Irish Football Association hit clubs with heavy fines.
“All the clubs are in financial difficulty but I cannot understand how some of them can survive and keep paying out huge wages,” he added. “Clubs are also hit with heavy fines when supporters throw missiles onto the pitch but I feel sorry for those clubs as it is difficult to stop someone throwing a coin onto the pitch.”
United fans are left wishing their club a happy and particularly prosperous new year.