IT is a fairly quiet weekend in local soccer as only Coagh United and Killymoon Rangers are in action.
Coagh United face Newbuildings in the last sixteen of the JJB Irish Cup and they will be hoping to avoid a major upset at Hagan Park.
Their opponents have been in red hot form over the last few months and it is with no surprise that the ambitious Londonderry outfit find themselves at this stage. The Waterside outfit started their cup run with a 9-1 thrashing of Mid Ulster outfit Hanover.
They then moved onto Ballymena where they defeated Carniny Amateurs 5-3 and tore apart Dromara Village in round three with a 6-1 win.
It was in round four where they produced one of the major shocks in the early rounds. They defeated Championship 2 outfit Armagh City 3-0.
Despite the introduction of the IPL big boys in round five, Newbuildings ended up with Amateur League opposition and they had little bother in seeing off the threat of Dunmurry Rec to set up a tie against either Coagh or Loughgall.
It took Coagh two ties to see of their close rivals and set up tomorrow’s cup encounter.
It promises to be an intriguing battle at Hagan Park. Coagh go into the game on top form as they lead the Championship 2 and are one of the favourites for promotion. Coagh will be looking to the likes of keeper Johnny Yorke, midfielder Steven Park and striker Jason Gillespie to push them through for an elusive quarter final spot.
Newbuildings also go into the game on a high after they thumped NFC Kesh in the league two weeks ago and followed it up with an impressive win in Strabane. They have a talented panel of players and they rejected the advances of Institute just prior to the end of the transfer window for a number of key players. They will also be backed by a large following of over 300 away supporters and it promises to be a lively atmosphere inside Hagan Park on Saturday.
Mid Ulster Mail Sport Prediction: Coagh to squeeze through with a 2-1 victory. United have a lot of experienced campaigners and will be hoping that home advantage will see them in the draw for the next round.
Killymoon Rangers are the only other local Irish League side in action this weekend and they will be hoping for a big performance at Upper Braniel against Knockbreda.
Knockbreda are in the chasing pack hunting down Coagh United at the top of the table. Hugh Sinclair’s side are notoriously difficult to beat on their home patch and Killymoon could be in for a long afternoon in Belfast unless they can raise their game.
Moon have really struggled for form recently and have found themselves sliding down the table. They are in serious risk of relegation unless they can start to pick up some wins both at home and on the road.
Brian McGarry has made one or two signing during the transfer window and he will be hoping that they will the desired effect on his panel.
Mid Ulster Mail Sport Prediction: Knockbreda should be too strong for Killymoon at home. Hard to see past a home win. Knockbreda 3 Killymoon Rangers 1