Antrim forward Ryan Murray says the Saffrons must hit the ground running in the early round of the National League if they are to gain promotion from Division 4.
The Saffrons open their league campaign against neighbours Derry on January 27th and Murray feels the next two McKenna Cup games against Armagh (this Sunday) and St Mary’s will help tune up the Lenny Harbinson’s men ahead of the Ulster derby with the Oak Leafers.
"Make no mistake about it, this game against Derry is crucial for us," he is quoted saying by the Belfast Telegraph.
"We can't afford to concede ground early in the league. That's why it is important we should reach a decent level of performance against Armagh on Sunday and then replicate this against St Mary's.
"I think we have to show what we are capable of so that we can go in against Derry in a positive mode. They will be equally keen to get their league campaign off on the right foot so there is a lot to play for."