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Unbeaten Armagh cautious ahead of Fermanagh showdown

By Kieran McGeeney

His team may be unbeaten in Division Three of the Allianz Football League but Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has little grounds for complacency as they prepare to take on high-flying Fermanagh at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday.

Ciaran McKeever, Stefan Campbell, Jamie Clarke, Kevin Dyas and Stephen Harold did not start in last Sunday's 13-point win over Limerick and McGeeney could well be without the experienced quintet for the visit of the Ernesiders.

Armagh have beaten Tipperary and Wexford as well as Limerick to date and have nosed ahead of Peter McGrath's side in the league table on score difference but McGeeney believes his players will now face their toughest test of the season so far.

"Fermanagh are a force to be reckoned with, there's no doubt about that," insists the Orchard County boss.

"Peter McGrath has got them playing consistently well and they will have taken confidence from their performances to date. They have talented individual players and as a team they have settled into a good system of playing."

The absence of a corps of regulars from his squad has forced McGeeney to show patience with some newcomers to his line-up and in this respect Michael McKenna in particular is more than justifying the faith being shown in him by his manager.

The lithe Grange clubman potted five superb points from play to complement his scoring contribution from earlier games and as well as being a proficient marksman he is also an accomplished playmaker, his creative skills underpinning Armagh's attacking strategy.

With Mark Shields also revealing a rich vein of form in attack - he scored 1-1 last Sunday - and Aidan Forker dovetailing between defence and attack, Armagh are acquiring an all-round cohesiveness that is particularly pleasing to McGeeney.

But he remains cautious as his team limber up for a game that is expected to attract a huge number of fans to the Athletic Grounds.

"The league is certainly beginning to hot up now. Some days you try things and they work out and on other days they don't," stresses McGeeney.

"The bottom line is that we have to create and take chances if we are to win matches."

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