Glenn Ferguson under no illusions ahead of Welders renewal

Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson.
Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson.

Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson needs little reminding of the pitfalls that lie in wait at Tillysburn on Saturday.

The Sky Blues were almost dumped out of the Irish Cup at the same venue last season, only for a late Darren Boyce equaliser helping snatch a 2-2 draw in the sixth round.

Ferguson’s men went on to claim a narrow 1-0 win in a replay at the Showgrounds, in what was the first hurdle of their – almost – heroic cup journey.

Fate has declared that the two sides will meet once again in this season’s competition, in a massive quarter-final tie that will be played to a finish (1.30pm kick-off).

And Ferguson is under no illusions as he prepares to return to Tillysburn.

“It is probably a blessing that we went there last year and just about scraped a draw,” he said.

“It gives the lads the experience of the venue and what to expect. It is a tight ground and a bumpy surface, but the Welders have to play on it as well.

“The players know how hard they have to work to get a result, so we have to make sure the attitude is right.”

And Ferguson has warned his players of complacency as they prepare for tomorrow’s renewal.

“We will be favourites, but only on paper. I have stressed to the players about complacency,” he added.

“The Welders will be hungry to claim another scalp, and we need to have the right frame of mind.

“We are under no illusions. They may be missing a couple of important players, including Davy Rainey. But they will have hungry players coming in.

“We certainly don’t want a repeat of last season. That was too close to call.

“If we win 1-0, that would be great – as long as your name is in the hat on Saturday tea-time.

“We had to chase the game last time and scored an 89th-minute equaliser. We know it won’t be easy. The Welders beat Glenavon in the last round, so that proves how good they are.”

Ballymena are without midfielder Eamon McAllister who is cup tied, while defender Stephen McBride is suspended for the clash.