Belfast Telegraph

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Injury-hit Ballymena must bounce back against Welders, says Jeffrey

By Billy Weir

Ballymena United will look to take out the frustrations of Saturday's defeat by Glentoran on another team from east Belfast.

Harland and Wolff Welders come to the Showgrounds just 72 hours after the Glens returned home with a 3-1 win and the Braidmen picked up another batch of injuries.

Emmet Friars cried off in the pre-match warm-up and Kevin Braniff and Conor McCloskey left the action early, with the Showgrounds now beginning to resemble Emergency Ward 10.

"Injuries give others opportunities, so certainly opportunities will fall to other members of the squad," said manager David Jeffrey. "Kevin won't play, Conor won't play, Emmet won't play, Johnny McMurray is still out, Matthew Shevlin is out as is Stephen McAlorum."

It is yet another meeting in cup competitions between two teams who seem to be perennially paired up with each other.

The Welders, managed by one of the Sky Blue faithful's favourite former sons in Gary Smyth, drew 0-0 with Newry City on Saturday, but there will certainly be no taking the Championship side for granted.

"It's going to be tough, in fact they nearly beat us in pre-season so it's not going to be easy in any shape or form, but it's good to have a game so quickly," added Jeffrey. "This is an opportunity to try and erase the disappointment.

"It's pleasing that we have such tough opposition and there will be those people who will get a chance simply because of the injuries that we have."

And, for Jeffrey, the chance to get his hands on the 'biggest' trophy in local football is one that he relishes.

"It's my fondest memory because it was my first trophy I won as a player in a game in 1983, 4-1 against Glentoran at Windsor Park, and it was also the last trophy that I won when I was at Windsor, so it's a personal favourite of mine."

Belfast Telegraph

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