Irish Cup: Ballymena boss Jeffrey expects tough test from Tipton's Ports

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton
Matthew Tipton's Portadown are third in the Championship at the moment

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey says Matthew Tipton's Portadown will present his side with a "tough game" in Monday's re-arranged Irish Cup tie.

With improved weather over the weekend, the game looks set to go ahead despite the recent well-publicised Showgrounds pitch problems.

"Matthew is no fool by any stretch of the imagination," says Jeffrey.

"And Portadown in many ways is Matthew's ideal job because that's where he made his reputation."

The winner of the Ballymena game, one of four sixth-round ties taking place on Monday night, will go on to face Crusaders in the quarter-finals but Jeffrey insists the high-flying Braidmen are focusing totally on Portadown.

"Bryan [McLaughlin] and I had Matthew at Linfield and when we first came to Ballymena, Matthew was there," Jeffrey added.

"He was most astute and did extremely well at Warrenpoint before going to Portadown."

But while Jeffrey is cautioning against his side having a comfortable evening, Ballymena, who lie second in the Premiership table, will be expected to account for a Ports outfit who are third in the Championship table.

Monday's only all-Premiership tie sees Glenavon hosting Dungannon Swifts at Mourneview Park.

Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton rested several of his experienced players for Saturday's 2-0 league win over Ards but is certain to parade a more experienced line-up on Monday.

Dungannon go into the tie buoyed by their superb 1-0 Premiership win over Crusaders and Swifts boss Kris Lindsay, Hamilton's first-team coach at Mourneview Park until late September, will know plenty about the Glenavon players.

The victors at Mourneview Park will go on to face the winners of Monday's re-arranged tie between Championship club Ballinamallard United and Carrick Rangers.

After a January which saw Warrenpoint Town move away from the relegation zone with three impressive Premiership wins, Stephen McDonnell's side crashed to a 5-0 home defeat by Glentoran on Saturday.

However, Point will be fancied to regroup by beating Queen's University in Monday's other re-arranged tie, with the winners going on to face Larne Tech Old Boys in the last eight.

Tennent's Irish Cup sixth round - Monday 2 February - 19:45 GMT
Radio commentary on BBC Radio Ulster MW and text commentary on the BBC Sport website
Ballinamallard UtdvCarrick Rangers
Ballymena UtdvPortadown
GlenavonvDungannon Swifts
Warrenpoint TownvQueen's University