The Bob Radcliffe Cup final has been a benchmark along Brian Adair’s timeline as player and manager but today’s (Friday’s) final could prove one of the most important fixtures of his career.
Adair will line out with former team-mate Dean Smith in the opposite dugout at a venue that provided both men with highpoints in Loughgall blue.
Now Adair is charged with the responsibility of steering the Villagers to a cup success at a time when league form paints a picture of relegation concern rather than trophy glory.
Smith’s Annagh side make the short trip from Portadown placed in the division below the struggling NIFL Championship One hosts but with a formbook that can only inspire confidence within the Tandragee Road camp.
“We have a full squad and must look on the final as an opportunity to prove a point,” said Adair. “The players owe this club a performance and it is a must-win match.
“They need to stand up and be counted on the day from the first whistle to last against a side packed with experience and quality enjoying great form this season.
“I have a lot of respect for Dean.
“Our results have not been acceptable and I take on that responsibility as manager but we must gain confidence from the performance levels within certain games.
“We have displayed plenty of glimpses of the potential I had faith in when signing so many during the summer.
“Now it is the perfect time to put that on show at such an important stage.
“In the past, we have had games viewed as a springboard but then it fades away, that cannot prove the case on Saturday.
“There is no hiding place in a cup final, especially at our own ground.
“The players must produce but I still have confidence in the potential if we click.”