Knockout football is a different animal to league action and the most important experience of them all is the Irish Cup, so this weekend is a very special one for Davy McAlinden’s Larne.
“The fourth round is a big one for all the clubs, because going into the hat for the fifth-round draw is very exciting, as we have a chance of coming out against a top club from the Premiership,” said Davy McAlinden, whose Inver Park team has a dodgy enough Dergview test barring the way to round five.
“It’s a long journey and they are an even better team than their league table position would have you believe. They are maybe a wee bit inconsistent since we went into the league match at Inver Park, with just a point between us and we won 2-0.
“We have been doing pretty well in the league and that’s great, but we are now placing all our focus on the Irish Cup and that means the spotlight is simply on the long trip to Castlederg.
“We will all go to north Tyrone together in the bus and be there nice and early and get the little bit of travel fatigue out of our legs. Then it’s a matter of relaxing and getting the mental focus on the game.”
McAlinden also said he was very pleased with Saturday’s 4-2 success at Lakeview Park.
He was delighted to bag another away victory and, despite his team now occupying second in the Championship 1 table, he insists no-one at the Inver club is getting carried away.
“In terms of the result, it was a great three points,” he told the Times.
“Going to a place like Loughgall and coming away with a win is always very satisfying.
“Fair play to Loughgall, they got a good start and could have had a couple of goals if their finishing had been better.
“But they couldn’t deal with us from set-piece situations That we are sitting second in the table is terrific, but it’s not as straightforward as that might seem.
“Look at the table and you’ll see there are about three teams who can overtake us when the games played column levels out.”