Dergview Manager Ivan Sproule could be forced into fielding a youthful team when they take on Ballinamallard in the Irish Cup on Saturday.

The Castlederg side has been hit by a series of injuries in the build-up to the game, with the Manager having to make a late call on several players before their long-awaited return to competitive action.

“We have picked up a few injuries in recent weeks, and that is possibly down to the players being out for so long,” revealed Sproule.

“We are nursing four injuries, and we won’t know until training on Thursday night if any of them are going to come through.

“It has not been ideal, but there are enough young players throughout the squad.

“There are kids eager to get their chance on Saturday, so it may be a young side, but we are just glad to be there, and whatever side goes out there, they will give their best.”

Both sides have endured a frustrating season, with the absence of elite status preventing their league season from starting.

That decision from the IFA led to several Championship teams refusing to take part in a cup competition, but Sproule is happy both teams opted to play the match despite the lack of preparation time.

“Full respect to both sets of players for going out and doing this on Saturday,” he said.

“These players were all forgotten about for a year by the IFA, and they are out there putting respect back into the Irish Cup, but it takes a lot longer than this to get back up to full speed again.

“The boys have just been glad to get back in and get back to their Tuesday and Thursday routine at training.

“It has been a long period out, and it was a bit of a quick turnaround when you have only had a month to prepare for it, but everyone is looking forward to the game.

“I think watching the friendlies that we have played, you can pick the bones out of it as an analyst, but these guys have missed a year’s football and it has not been ideal for any player. The players need time to get their match fitness up.

“I don’t think there will be a player on the pitch on Saturday for either team that will 100 per cent match fit. The only leveller is that both teams have had the same amount of time to prepare.”

Sproule will return to familiar surroundings on Saturday, and the Dergview boss is looking forward to facing up to his former club in a local derby. “Ballinamallard are a fantastic club,” he said.

“They have really stepped up in recent years, and they flit in and out of the Premiership, which is no mean feat. The club and the infrastructure they have up there is fantastic, and it is always nice to see old faces.

“It is the cup, and it is a derby, and it adds that little bit of spice for us that it is our neighbours.

“Let’s hope it is a classic cup tie and there are a few goals, and let’s hope that Dergview come out on the right side of it.”