BALLYMENA United manager David Jeffrey will demand his side kick-start their season tonight in the competition they won in style last season.
The Braidmen have collected just one point from their opening four matches in the Danske Bank Premiership but Jeffrey will feel one victory can change the mood at the Showgrounds. He will want it to come in the Bet McLean League Cup second round tie at home to Knockbreda.
The Championship side, managed by Lee Forsythe who took over from Garth Scates in the summer, will enter this evening’s tie in confident mood on the back of a 3-0 win at H & W Welders at the weekend.
Former Blues boss Jeffrey will be all too aware of the danger ex-Glentoran star Michael Halliday possesses in the Knockbreda team. Halliday famously made a habit of scoring in Big Two games when Jeffrey was in charge of Linfield.
At Windsor on Saturday, United lost 1-0 but on the upside for Jeffrey it was a much improved performance than the 6-1 drubbing at home to Glenavon previously.
“We’ve prepared right for the Knockbreda match and know they will be tough opposition,” said Jeffrey, who revelled in his side’s 2-0 League Cup final triumph over Carrick Rangers last season.
“There’s no point in performing as we did at Linfield if we don’t do it against Knockbreda. We won this competition last season and I’m determined we put up a strong defence.”
Ballymena’s intriguing clash is one of 16 League Cup matches this evening with Ards, who have lost their first four league matches, hoping to avoid another defeat against Queens.
Cliftonville will aim to find some of their opening day of the season form at home to Banbridge while impressive Coleraine, with maximum league points gained to date, host Larne. Glenavon, in fine scoring form, will fancy their chances of netting a few more against Donegal Celtic and Dundela have a tough task ahead of them at Stephen Baxter's Crusaders.
Bet McLean League Cup Second round ties: Ards v Queens, Ballyclare Comrades v Newington, Ballymena United v Knockbreda, Carrick Rangers v Dergview, Cliftonville v Banbridge Town, Coleraine v Larne, Crusaders v Dundela, Glenavon v Donegal Celtic, Limavady United v PSNI, Linfield v Lisburn Distillery, Loughgall v Glentoran, Moyola Park v Institute, Newry v Dungannon Swifts, Portadown v H& W Welders, Warrenpoint v Lurgan Celtic (all 7.45pm), Ballinamallard v Tobermore (8pm).