Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena United are well aware of Dundela's capabilities, insists Jeffrey

David Jeffrey
David Jeffrey

By Billy Weir

David Jeffrey is taking nothing for granted when Dundela come to Warden Street for this evening's County Antrim Shield tie.

Ballymena United will be hot favourites to progress but Jeffrey will have to reshuffle his pack, especially in defence.

Kofi Balmer is on international duty with Northern Ireland Under-21s, while Andrew Burns' sending off against Warrenpoint Town on Saturday means he joins Jonathan Addis on the suspended list.

The teams played each other in the Irish Cup last season, the Sky Blues winning 3-1, but Dundela more than held their own for large parts of that game.

"The County Antrim Shield is obviously a competition we want to do well in," said Jeffrey. "Dundela have been doing particularly well, we've prepared and watched them as we always do.

"I remember the cup game we had with them at Wilgar Park last year and, my goodness gracious me, that was very, very close and very tight, so they will come here and put it right up to us. They have some very good players and it's certainly not 'wee Dundela'. We know how good they are from last year and how they've improved since last year, so it will be tough."

United's 4-0 win over Warrenpoint lifted them to fourth spot in the Danske Bank Premiership table in what was the first of five games in a hectic two weeks.

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A familiar figure coming back to the Showgrounds is Duns midfielder Eoin Kane, who carved out his place in United history back in 2016 when he scored the winning goal in the Sky Blues' defeat of Linfield in the Shield decider.

Once again, Dundela have started the season well and will hope to continue that this time around after tailing off somewhat last term. They suffered their first reversal of the campaign on Saturday when losing 2-0 to Portadown, but are still handily placed in second, three points behind Loughgall.

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