Ferguson Swiss-ing in action for cup build-up

Glenn Ferguson will orchestrate Ballymena United’s bid for a first Irish Cup final for 25 years from the unlikely location of Switzerland!

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson is completing his UEFA Pro Licence coaching qualification in Switzerland this week, ahead of his side's Irish Cup semi-final against Queen's. Picture: Press Eye.

The Sky Blues boss will be an absentee from the training ground as United finalise preparations for their crucial semi-final against Queen’s University at the Oval on Saturday (3pm).

Ferguson is out of the country this week as part of an IFA delegation of coaches completing their UEFA Pro Licence coaching qualification - an essential criterion for managing in senior football in this country.

“It’s far from ideal timing in the week of the Irish Cup semi-finals - Glenavon’s Gary Hamilton is on the same trip,” said Ferguson.

“But it has to be done and we will be in good hands with Norman and Lee looking after the players.

“We have to up the training and we’ll do that on Tuesday night, working on our gameplan and how we can press them in high areas and try to force them into mistakes, whereas Thursday night will be more work on shape, organisation and set pieces.”

Ferguson has been meticulous in his preparations for the tie against the competition’s fairytale team this season, even watching Queen’s himself in action recently.

“We know where they’re decent and we know where we can get at them.

“They are not as physical as some teams but they are tidy on the ball and they are well organised.

“Up until Friday night, when they lost 3-0 against Newington, they hadn’t conceded a lot of goals - maybe they had one eye on the semi-final themselves.

“We’ve been kicked in the guts too many times against lesser teams but the prize this time is so much bigger and the players have to be aware of that,” added Ferguson.

* Ballymena United’s Irish Cup semi-final against Queen’s on Saturday will be played to a finish, with extra-time and penalties if required.

* Admission is £12 for adults and £7 concessions, payable at the turnstiles.

* United supporters will be in the City end terracing and the Railway stand and will access the ground via Dee Street bridge covered walkway and City end turnstiles.

* New sky blue, white and red bar scarves, together with large sky blue and white checked flags and jester hats, are now in stock ahead of the Semi Final. All items cost £7.00 each.

These are available from Stirling Trophies, Queen Street.

* Seven Towers Supporters’ Club transport to the match leaves Henry Street car park at 1.45pm.

Anyone intending to travel with the Seven Towers club must be in possession of a bus ticket.