"For us it is all about getting a result," admitted Coach Alasdair McKee. "We beat them easily enough at Mullaghmeen but that was very early in the season. They had a wretched start but they have picked up since then and got some decent results on the board, and we have obviously dropped a bit since then so that will narrow the gap. I think league form to a large extent goes out the window in these cup games anyway, so just because we are in front of them in the league I don't think that is any basis for us to expect it will be an easy game. We had a great cup run in the junior and it would be nice to repeat that and maybe even go a stage further but we have to put Larne away first and see what happens after that. We have to use this game to give us a springboard because we have some big league games to follow."
Two draws and two defeats in their last four matches have seen Skins slip from their early season position as league leaders to fourth in the table, with their most recent defeat coming at the hands of Omagh. With their next two league games pitching them against the sides occupying the top two positions in the league, Alasdair knows his team have to improve.
"We didn't perform last time out and that really hurt us," he acknowledged. "I know the boys are really hurting from that and so am I. That was not an acceptable performance and Larne is all about putting that right. We have had a bit of a blip over the last month and performances have not been as good as they were, for a number of reasons. We've had injuries and the boys have been tired. A lot of those early games took it out of us. We need to get back to that intensity in our performance again. For us it is all about getting that back into our game, and I think if we can do that then the results will look after themselves. I think over the course of a season you are going to hit a blip, and the level of physicality and intensity we were playing with week in and week out the danger was there would be a time when we would struggle to try to repeat that, and that is what has happened."
The squad will be boosted by the return of some players from injury and Alastair believes the increased competition for places will help them recover their early season success.
"Hopefully we are getting back to near full strength again," he said. "Robbie Murray is coming back into a bit of fitness and Ryan Cathcart is back and looking fairly sharp and they are two players we can add to the mix. Richie Beattie is also back again with a bit of fitness after being out for five or six weeks, so there are guys who will be adding to competition in the squad, which is a good thing."