Kee expects tough test against Banbridge

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INSTITUTE boss Paul Kee has dismissed suggestions that his side are strong favourites to book their place in the Coca Cola Intermediate Cup final when they take on Championship Two side Banbridge Town at Lakeview Park, Loughgall tonight. (Kick-off: 7.45 p.m.)

SIMON COLLINS reports

The Drumahoe men are chasing promotion to the Irish Premiership and currently sit in third spot with a game in hand over second placed, Dundela.

Indeed, ‘Stute are flying high at present and will be considered too strong for their Co. Down opponents tonight but Kee isn’t taking anything for granted.

With a place in the final up for grabs, he expects Banbridge to raise their game and he anticipates a tough encounter.

“You put in all the hard work getting to the semi-final and we’re one match away from a final, so it’s a case of getting the job done,” said the team boss.

“It would be great to get to the final but I’m sure Banbridge, on a tight pitch, will be highly motivated having got this far and will prove tough opponents.

“They defeated Dergview in the previous round so they will be buoyed by that result so there’s no way we can underestimate them.

“You have to be at your very best in semi-finals,” added the ‘Stute boss. “The players are in good form and we have to guard against complacency and make sure we don’t take our foot off the gas.

“We will be reminding our players what’s at stake and we want the job done as quick as we can and hopefully we can get the right result.”

The prize for the winner of tonight’s encounter is a final meeting with either Limavady United or Ards who will play tomorrow night.

Striker, Warner Mullan is expected to miss tonight’s cup clash as he continues to struggle with a hamstring strain but other than that, Kee should have a near full strength squad to select from.

The Waterside men were denied the chance to close the gap on their nearest league rivals as their match against Larne at Inver Park was abandoned due to an unplayable pitch with ‘Stute winning 0-1 at the time.

Kee was frustrated as his side face a fixture backlog over the forthcoming four weeks but he was pleased with the performances from his players during the short time they were on the field.

“We were 1-0 up when it got called off but it probably shouldn’t have went ahead in the first place to be honest.

“We have built up a head of steam at the minute and the players are playing with a bit of confidence.

“We started Saturday’s match really well and we should’ve been 3-0 up in the first 15 minutes,” he concluded.