Newry City manager Gary Boyle believes his side has a “massive opportunity” to make a semi-final, when they travel to fellow league strugglers Dungannon Swifts in Tuesday night’s BetMcLean League Cup quarter-final clash at Stangmore Park.
The game in Dungannon is one of four ties in the last eight of the competition, which also sees league leaders Linfield travel to second-placed Larne.
Confidence will be high in the City camp, despite some off-colour league performances thus far, after a dramatic last-minute equaliser from John McGovern against Crusaders on Saturday to salvage a 1-1 draw.
Boyle acknowledges his side have been handed a more favourable draw with the trip west.
“I think both teams probably looked at the draw and would agree that it is a favourable one,” he said.
“It gives each of us a real chance of making the semi-final of a massive competition.
“We are reassessing the players after Saturday and I know there are a few achy bodies in the squad, particularly given the short turnaround until Tuesday night.
“But these are the games the players want to be in, so I’m sure we will have a keen squad to pick from come kick-off.”
The Mournemen will certainly be wanting to avoid a repeat of the result last month, when Rodney McAree’s side ran out impressive 4-1 winners. A semi-final appearance may just be the filip that both sides need to get their season’s back on track.
Elsewhere, it’s another clash of the top-two sides at Inver Park, with Larne hoping to defeat existing cup-holders Linfield.
After both sides had potentially their worst performances of the season at the weekend – Linfield’s 4-0 defeat at Glentoran and Larne’s draw at lowly Ballymena United – each will be desperate to appease their disgruntled fans.
Linfield supporters should maybe look away at the head-to-heads going into the game. All three games this season have ended in victory for the Reds, who appear to have found a way around David Healy’s stubborn Blues’ defence.
Championship high-flyers Portadown host Loughgall in a clash of the Armagh titans. Niall Currie’s Ports will be hoping to show they belong in the top division, with an eye-catching display against the Premiership’s surprise package.
The neighbours have not played one another since 2019, and you must go back over seven years for a Loughgall win. Portadown may sniff an opportunity.
Finally, Coleraine host Glenavon in a repeat of Saturday's fixture at Mourneview Park. At the weekend, the Lurgan Blues relied on an injury-time equaliser from Calum Birney to rescue a point, after Jamie Glackin had given the Bannsiders the lead.
Glenavon are on a rich vein of form at present and seem to have found their way to the winners enclosure of late.
However, Coleraine are the League Cup specialists, having featured in all three of the last showpieces, including a win back in 2020, and must not be ruled out in this sure-to-be tight affair at the Showgrounds.