Belfast Telegraph

Gers youngster looking forward to United battle as Jeffrey edges into the unknown

 

Big ask: David Jeffrey says he doesn't know what to expect
Big ask: David Jeffrey says he doesn't know what to expect

By Billy Weir

David Jeffrey admits that tonight's Tunnock's Wafer Challenge Cup clash with Rangers Colts is a walk into the unknown, but that will not be the case for one of his players.

Exciting young defender Kofi Balmer is likely to be in the Sky Blues' line-up for the visit of the little Light Blues this evening and he will be up against a familiar face.

Daniel Finlayson has been one of Balmer's fellow squad members in the Northern Ireland Under-21 set-up, while Kyle McClelland and Chris McKee, also in the Rangers squad, have been in Stephen Frail's Under-19 panel.

Jeffrey is hoping that his side's pre-season clash with Manchester United's Under-21 outfit will hold them in good stead for their debut in the competition that takes in teams from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

"It's a new competition, we got there on merit from our position last year and we've had a taste of playing against that type of opposition with the Manchester United game," said Jeffrey, whose side will travel to English National League outfit Solihull Moors if they can make it to the fourth round.

"But we're going to go and have a crack at the competition, we're delighted to be in it.

"I understand that other teams prioritised, but it's another new opportunity for Ballymena.

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"We haven't a clue what to expect, haven't a notion, but we're looking forward to it, although I'm not exactly sure who we'll have available because we're the walking wounded at the moment."

Finlayson is looking forward to his trip home.

"We are expecting a tough side, I know from my experience that Ballymena are a really good side," said the 18-year-old.

"They are physical, they are tough to play against but it will be a good experience for the boys - that is what we are here for.

"These are the challenges we are looking for, to play against first team opposition of a high standard, and that is what they are, so everyone is looking forward to it.

"It is something we have all spoke about and we love going over to Northern Ireland.

"The support we get is always incredible, but we are looking forward to the big games and it will be a good support."

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