Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup.Dungannon Swifts vs Ards.Stangmore Park.Saturday 7th January at 3.00 p.m.In spite of being drawn out of the hat first, Ards travel down the M1 to take on the Swifts in this fifth round tie as landlords Bangor also got a home draw meaning the Red and Blues had to concede home advantage.Although the Swifts are struggling in the Premiership, finding themselves in the relegation play off position with just fourteen points and four points adrift of Newry in tenth, they have reserved their best results for home games and appear to have run into a bit of improved form recently with seven points from their last four matches. A closer look at their results shows that all fourteen points gained have actually come from home games with not a single point gathered on their travels, a pity Bangor hadn't been drawn away!Like Ards the Swifts have been conceding too many goals with 48 against them in their 22 games, actually a worse goals per game ratio than Ards. Unlike Ards they haven't been prolific scorers, apart from a recent 4-1 thrashing of Carrick Rangers, having only notched 15 in those 22 games. Their joint leading goalscorer is James Knowles who Ards fans will remember from his spell in Red and Blue during our last time in the Premiership. Other familiar faces in Dungannon's squad include Michael Ruddy, famous for his penalty kick prowess and striker Ben Cushnie who spent time with Ards on loan from Glentoran. While not having a successful season so far the Swifts side has a lot of Premiership experience in the likes of goalkeeper Declan Dunne, defenders Caolan Marron and Garry Breen while Ryan Mayse and Rhyss Campbell offer some creativity and goal threat so Ards will have to be at their best if they want to upset the odds and be included in the draw for the sixth round.
Matthew Tipton's squad will be along the usual lines with Salou Jallow unlikely to be included as he has been put on the transfer list. Definitely not involved are Callum McVeigh who has joined Knockbreda and Luke McKendry who has ended his loan spell with Ards and rejoined Dungannon. Recent signings Aidan Steele and Karl Hamill may be on the bench but it might be too soon to consider starting either of them. Ards fans will be pleased to see Adam Salley's loan spell from Portadown has been allowed to continue and will be looking for goals from Adam and Eamon Scannell who have both hit double figures already this season. Alex Moore will be keen to play against a club where he spent considerable time on loan from Linfield before joining Ards and he will hopefully continue with the excellent form he has shown so far this season.
The PASC bus will leave the Social Club/Gibson's Lane area at 1.15 p.m and all fans are welcome.