Ryan Mayse wary of a resurgent Sky Blues
Ryan Mayse may have been Dungannon Swifts' goalscoring hero on Wednesday night as they squeezed past Ballyclare Comrades to reach the last four of the Bet McLean League Cup, but it's another potential match-winner he has his eyes on.
The Swifts travel to Ballymena United today for a crucial match in the shake-up for a cherished top six spot, and it is no coincidence that the Sky Blues' recent resurgence has come with the reappearance of Johnny McMurray.
The striker missed the start of the campaign with a thigh injury but is now back and scored a wonder goal in United's last league outing, a 2-1 win over Linfield, and played a key role as David Jeffrey's men joined the Swifts in the semi-finals with an extra-time win over Ards.
"I was chatting to the lads and saying what a difference McMurray makes to them, he boosts them massively because he's a quality player and he's one you have to watch," explained Mayse.
"You see his goal against Linfield, a wee flick on he's just controlled and then into the top corner from 35 yards, so we need to try and keep him quiet and if we can do that hopefully us boys up the field can do the business."
That win put United ahead of the Swifts, so it is a huge game at the Showgrounds and Mayse is acutely aware of what it means.
"The game against Warrenpoint was a massive one for us and the Ballymena game is another massive one for us trying to get into the top six," he added.
"We know what Ballymena are about. We played them earlier on in the season up at Stangmore and beat them 2-1, so we know where their threats are and we know where their weaknesses are, so hopefully Rodney (McAree) will come up with a game plan and we'll go out and get another three points.
"We know who to watch for Ballymena, they haven't had a great start to the season but after that Linfield game they'll be flying high so hopefully we can bring them down a peg and get ahead of them in the table."