Tandragee Rovers’ long-term ambitions may extend beyond the Mid-Ulster Football League but manager Scott Walker considers victory in tonight’s (Friday’s) Premier Cup a perfect platform for progress.
A rise into the Irish League ladder remains the ultimate target for the Madden Road outfit - and success under the Armagh City floodlights against Camlough Rovers could add a crucial edge to Walker’s men.
“Any trophy win adds something to a squad and this Premier Cup final arrives at a point in the season which would help push everyone on for the rest of the campaign,” said Walker, the former Irish League player. “Any big game can help build up experience and obviously that goes extra for a cup final.
“I look around the squad and see a winning mentality within the group but we need to go out against Camlough and get the result.
“We have put together a very good squad, bringing in some promising young players over the years at the right time to replace or strengthen the group.
“We have also been able to promote from the reserves.
“That desire to win covers not only matchdays but even in training and the hunger is certainly in place to push on as a group and club.
“We remain ambitious and used pre-season to play sides in the Irish League as part of a learning experience, plus have picked up a lot from the many cup ties already played this season.
“We want to move on to that next level but consistency and concentration remain key elements of making that step forward.
“In my career as a player the message was always to do the basics well and train to carry that same attitude out on to the pitch in a match.
“The players have responded really well since I took over as boss in October 2013 and just want to go out and win every game.”
Walker enjoyed back-to-back Premier Cup triumphs with the Tandragee squad across the 2011/12 and 2012/13 campaigns - the last at the expense of Camlough Rovers.
“I also remember winning the cup a few times as a teenager with Dungannon Swifts reserves so it would be great to add a win as manager,” said Walker. “The attitude of the lads has been brilliant and I get great support from people like Scott McMillan and Sam Matchett, alongside the committee and sponsors.
“We put a lot of emphasis on fitness work thanks to Scott’s training and Sam knows basically everyone in Mid-Ulster football so is always on hand for a word of advice.
“Camlough have been consistently strong over the past few seasons and, of course, anything can happen in a cup final.
“We can go into the final with a full squad available for selection and, of course, everyone wants to play in a cup final.”
A supporters’ bus will depart from Tandragee’s Montagu Arms at 6.30 tonight (Friday).
To book a seat - at the cost of £5 - contact Colin on 07737056813.