Philip Brown targets happier new year after injury
Philip Brown, the Ulster Player of the Year in 2014, is keeping his fingers crossed that he will make a comeback from a long-term injury before the end of the season.
The Banbridge defender has been sidelined for almost a year with a bad knee injury, but he hopes to start training some time in the new year with a view to being available in time for the tough end-of-season programme.
Philip's younger brother Peter, who features in Bann's midfield, also hopes that his sibling can return sooner rather than later, but knows all too well that the recovery process has been frustrating.
"He has been out for so long now, but he has been advised that he can restart training in around six to eight weeks," said Peter.
"Bearing in mind the IHL stops for almost seven weeks over the winter this season, it means he could be out training again by the time we start the second half of the programme."
Peter accepts that Bann haven't been as prolific this season as in previous years.
"To be fair, it's a tougher league, so goals don't come just as easy, but we are finding our form now after a shaky start," said the Irish international.
"Last week's draw at current champions Monkstown was quite good and we hope to build on that this Saturday when we go to Dublin for the second successive week.
"Glenanne are always hard to play against and have improved with the addition of a few overseas players."
Leaders Lisnagarvey are also off to Dublin to face Railway Union whom they have just drawn in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals.
The addition of international striker Michael Watt to their squad gives coach Errol Lutton more options and no doubt fellow international striker Timmy Cockram and Watt will form a good partnership at both levels.
The two Ulster teams trailing at the foot of the table - Annadale and Cookstown - both have home games this weekend and really need a positive result to start clawing back the leeway.
It won't be easy for the Dale who have Monkstown as visitors, but Andy Smyth's lads can take heart from the fact the champions have managed just one point from their last two games.
Cookstown host Three Rock and are hoping to make it an uncomfortable second successive journey north for the Dublin side who lost 4-0 at Garvey last week.
The big game in the Ulster Premier League is on Friday evening at Mossley where leaders Instonians are visitors - it's a dress rehearsal for Boxing Day's Kirk Cup final at Stormont.
South Antrim and Queen's are involved in the indoor championships on Sunday as well as Saturday's league programme.