Johnny Morton (News Letter)
The standout match in the Premier League this weekend sees third-placed Carrickfergus travel to league leaders CIYMS on Saturday.
Carrick have won three of their six league games to date, and although they have played one more game than the two teams above them, they could go joint-top if other results go their way.
They have finished in the top four in the past two seasons, and captain Michael Gilmour is looking to build on previous success.
“We always want to finish in and around the top of the league,” he said.
“It’s difficult to play every Saturday if you don’t have aspirations to be the top team.
“We have realistic expectations, but the last few seasons we have always been working forward.
“We are happy with where we are at the minute, but we are always looking to get better and stronger, whether that is game by game or year by year, as long as we are improving, we are always very happy.”
Gilmour’s side showed their ability by beating Waringstown on the opening day of the season, and followed it up with wins over Armagh and North Down.
Their sole focus is on the league, and Gilmour says they will work hard until the very end to try and achieve something special.
“All of our focus is on the league,” he added.
“We are very happy with how things are going. There have been a couple of disappointing results.
“There is a lot of movement in the league so each win is crucial, and we still have a lot of self-belief in the team and we need to continue to keep working hard until the end.”
Before the league encounter, CIYMS will travel to Waringstown t0night for a Twenty20 Cup semi-final.
With the one wicket Challenge Cup semi-final defeat still fresh in their memory, captain Nigel Jones says they will be looking to get one over on their rivals.
“Every time you are playing a big team you want to get a win, and that is no different for Friday,” he said.
“If we win that, we get a chance to play the following Sunday in a final so the boys are pretty motivated to give it a go.
“We are approaching the game with a bit of freedom and if it comes off, it comes off, and if we play that way it’ll give us a great chance.”
They beat Carrick by 114 runs when the two sides met in May, but Jones isn’t taking anything for granted.
“We certainly can’t rock up expecting anything other than a difficult game,” he added.
“I know our boys are focused to keep our form in the league going. Carrick have a couple of dangerous players in their squad and we just need to make sure we do our thing and I think we will get the result we are after.”
Other PL fixtures: CSNI vs Muckamore, North Down vs Instonians, Waringstown vs Armagh.