LEROY Millar hopes Ballymena United pass one of their sternest tests to date tonight (Tuesday)!
For the Sky Blues take on Crusaders this evening in the BetMcLean League Cup at Seaview - with a place in the final waiting for the winner.
Twenty-three-year-old Millar is well aware of the task ahead - but says they will be well prepared and ready to go.
The attacking midfielder said Ballymena will be well fired up.
“We will give it our all on the pitch and see where it takes us,” said Millar.
“Games are coming thick and fast. But for us it is one game at a time. We are not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”
Meeting Crusaders at their home ground is always a difficult encounter.
United have met the Shore Road twice this season, drawing 2-2 and winning 3-0.
These results count for absolutely nothing tonight when the sides line up in the League Cup semi.
In what was the Ballymena’s second game of the season at Seaview, back on August 11, a completely new-look, newly built, United came away with a point from the 2-2 draw.
At the end of October they met again, this time Ballymena easing to a 3-0 home win, with goals from Adam Lecky, William Faulkner and Andy McGrory.
Since then Crusaders have got back on track - althought at the weekend they had a setback, losing 4-1 to Linfield at Windsor Park.
They will be wounded and dangerous!
Meanwhile, United have not been faring too badly themselves.
Their last handful of successes include wins over Linfield, Glentoran and Cliftonville!
United manager David Jeffrey’s men have certainly raised a few eyebrows in recent weeks.
Their recent home win over Linfield was a club history making NINE wins in a row!
On that day against the Blues it was Millar, a sales assistant in the JD Sports store in the Fairhill Centre, who fired home what proved to be the winner.
A similar staring role tonight would not go a miss.
“We are all looking forward to the semi final against Crusaders with a place in the final at stake,” outlined Millar.
“ It is a massive game - as are all of our games - so we will need to prepare right and work extremely hard.”
Millar said the Crues are “a fantastic side,” and added that tonight’s semi will be a stern test.
“Of late they have got a run going,” continued Millar.
“It was only a matter of time before they starting putting results together. They have a fantastic squad with a lot of talent all over the pitch.”
Back in January Crusaders dished out a lesson to United in the Toals County Antrim Shield final which was played at Ballymena Showgrounds!
They won 4-2, with Jonathan McMurray and Cathair Friel getting the Ballymena goals.
Millar sat out that final through injury but now plans to play his part in helping United book their place in the League Cup show-piece.
United News - David Jeffrey has been named Manager of the Month for November!
Former Ballymena United favourite Kevin Kelbie will be at Saturday’s United corporate lunch in the Des Allen Suite at the Showgrounds.
The Scot, a prolific goal scorer with the Sky Blues during his time at United, will be at the top table.
Guest speaker at the United fund raiser will be Colin Barclay.
Tickets for the Boxing Day 'derby', featuring United and Coleraine, are sold out!
Meanwhile, United have been drawn away to Dundela in the fifth round of the Tennent's Irish Cup!
The match takes place on Saturday, January 5, 2019, (3pm).
The draw took place last Thursday,
On Saturday United are at home to Institute in the Premiership (3pm).
On Tuesday, December 18, United are at home to Linfield in the semi-final of the Toals County Antrim Shield (745pm).
* More Boxing Day Tickets? - Page 55