IRISH CUP: Smyth optimistic Welders can cause an upset against Ballymena

H&W Welders manager Gary Smyth. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
H&W Welders manager Gary Smyth. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

H&W Welders manager Gary Smyth is confident his team can once again give Irish Premiership side Ballymena plenty to think about in tomorrow’s Irish Cup Sixth Round clash at Tillysburn (kick-off 1.30pm).

The Welders were narrowly beaten by Ballymena in the quarter-finals of the competition in 2015 after establishing a 2-0 lead, but they were denied a place in the semis when Gary Thompson netted an added-time winner after the Sky Blues fought back.

Smyth said: “Any time we have played Premiership teams we have either won or come very close. It’s not been the best of seasons for us as far as league goes, so we’ve been scratching our heads a bit because we’re the same team.

“We haven’t been taking our chances but we’re still a decent team and I’m sure Ballymena will know that. Hopefully a break from the norm will do us good.

“The weather forecast isn’t great at the moment though and I wouldn’t be surprised if we needed a pitch inspection on Saturday morning if the rain keeps coming. Our pitch is quite soft at the moment and it will depend on how much more rain we get.

“There hasn’t been a match played on it for two weeks though, so maybe that will help us.

“This is the third time we have played Ballymena in cup games in four seasons and it is always close.”

Ballymena won’t be taking anything for granted, despite a bolstered squad.

“It’s going to be tough,” said boss David Jeffrey.

“I was watching the Welders against Ballymena a few seasons ago and we’ve played them this season. It’s a one-off game and you’ve got to go knowing it’s going to be a battle.

“They’ll get stuck in. If you’re not prepared for the battle, you will not be successful.”