‘We are ready for this’ insists Ballymena skipper Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins clashes with Michael Gault earlier in the season
Allan Jenkins clashes with Michael Gault earlier in the season

Allan Jenkins accepts that Ballymena United face a formidable challenge on Saturday – but he wouldn‘t have it any other way.

The Sky Blues travel to Windsor Park for a massive Irish Cup sixth round showdown with Linfield.

The Blues have beaten Ballymena three times already this season in the Premiership – including two 4-1 victories.

The bookmakers have installed the Braid club as 6/1 underdogs for Saturday’s tie, with David Jeffrey’s Blues fancied 4/11 shots.

But for Jenkins, it is a mouth-watering prospect for the visitors.

“We’ll be underdogs and not too many will give us a chance,” Jenkins said.

“Linfield are a top side and they’ll come at us all guns blazing, but we are ready for that.

“We’re playing Linfield on their own patch, but this is what the cup is all about. We’ll relish the challenge.”

The last time the two clubs met in a cup competition saw Ballymena lift the County Antrim Shield in November 2012.

Glenn Ferguson’s side claimed a penalty shootout victory over Linfield to seal their first senior trophy in 23 years.

“I saw what it meant to the fans that night, and we want to try and repeat it,” Jenkins added.

“A big crowd went up to The Oval that night, so I can only imagine what it’d be like if we reached an Irish Cup final. It’s a huge incentive.”

There are three all-Premiership fixtures in the sixth round of the Irish Cup.

As well as Ballymena United’s trip to Linfield, Coleraine host Dungannon Swifts at the Showgrounds and Ballinamallard United face Glenavon at Ferney Park.

Also on Saturday Armagh City welcome Glentoran to Holm Park, and Crusaders have home advantage against Ballymoney United.

Elsewhere in the sixth round, Lisburn Distillery take on Queen’s University at New Grosvenor and Carrick Rangers travel to Ballyclare Comrades.

Also Warrenpoint Town host Bangor.