After four victories on the spin in the league, some might think it’s a pity that momentum has been interrupted by a couple of knockout fixtures.
But the always positive Larne manager doesn’t buy into that argument. That dazzling little run of wins has yielded 12 points via 17 goals scored and five conceded, including that superb 2-1 win over the table-toppers and scoring seven and six times in other games, culminating in the 2-0 win over Annagh United at the weekend.
“That was the target for the month of October, to build momentum in the league, and we are delighted that we have done that. But I actually welcome the wonderful distraction of playing in two very important quarter-finals this week,” said manager Davy McAlinden.
“It gives us a chance to freshen up the squad, affording some players the chance to recover from little niggles and the like, while also allowing us to give others the opportunity to stake claims for starting places in the team.
“Players who have come off the bench and made an impact deserve their chance and I don’t believe at all that we are weakening the team when bringing these guys in.
“So it’s likely that I will start some of those who have been so patient for the Tuesday game and then take it from there. These are two very important matches, the chance to get into the semi-finals of two big competitions, so we will be trying our utmost to win them and keep the successful sequence going.
“The Co Antim Shield trip to Ards is a tough test, while Saturday’s visit by Albert Foundry is one we will be expected to win, but we don’t see it that way because they are one of the top Amateur League clubs and will be out to win at Inver Park.
“Against teams from lower divisions, it almost goes without saying that there is always the danger of complacency creeping in, but we have talked about that recently and I don’t fear that it will be a problem.
“They are from an area where I grew up and I have a fair idea of how good they are, and we played them in the pre-season, so we learned a wee bit about them in that as well. They will be hard to beat and we will approach the game with that in mind,” assured McAlinden, who was happy with last weekend’s win.
“Annagh came with a plan and that was to sit in and then try to punish us on the counter-attack. And the fact that it took us 85 minutes to break them down tells the story.
“But we were always confident that we would get there, - albeit knowing it might take a little piece of individual magic, and it did, .
“Sometimes you have to win ugly and this was an example of that, but it says a lot about this squad that we have that this ability in our armoury and we can use it when necessary,” added the confident McAlinden.