Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson still has plenty to play for

Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson
Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson

It would be easy to label Saturday’s meeting between Coleraine and Ballymena United as a mid-table dead rubber – but try telling that to Glenn Ferguson.

Ferguson is preparing to take his Sky Blues to the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds for another “feisty” derby battle (3pm kick-off).

It is a tussle between seventh and eighth in the Danske Bank Premiership.

With the split now into action, neither club can progress into the top six.

They also appear safe from any relegation worries this season.

But while there may be a lack of any tangible reward for both clubs in the weeks ahead, Ferguson believes the derby bragging rights are a significant prize both sets of fans.

“Ballymena United v Coleraine games are always massive games. They are feisty derbies with plenty at stake,” he said.

“There are five games remaining this season, and both clubs will probably finish in or around where they are at present.

“But there is never a ‘meaningless’ derby. They are always important games and Saturday will be no different.”

Ballymena earned a 2-1 win at Coleraine last September but lost the reverse home fixture 2-0 in November.

Ferguson’s side exacted revenge with a thrilling 4-3 triumph on Boxing Day, but currently trail their rivals by four points in the table.

“We have closed the gap on Coleraine, and hopefully we can close it further come Saturday tea time,” Ferguson added.

“We have five games to try and leapfrog Coleraine in the table. That would mean something to the fans at the end of a long season.

“You always want to do better than your derby rivals and hopefully we can get a positive result on Saturday.

“We have a strong squad to choose from which is a bonus, but I will also take a look at some of the younger lads as well.

“It is important to give them some experience.”