ARMAGH vice-captain Aidan Forker believes that the Orchard attack is strong enough to deal with their heavy absentee list.
Jamie Clarke and Caolan Rafferty are not with the squad at present while injury has ruled out Kevin Dyas and Andrew Murnin for the season. It’s likely that, if available, those four would have secured starting spots in next Sunday’s Ulster Championship quarter-final against Cavan.
Forker, who captained the side in Ciaran McKeever’s injury absence this year, is confident that the squad depth is there though to compensate for those losses.
“Preparations have been pretty good, we have been working hard and putting a lot of hours in,” said the Maghery man.
“The in-house games have been very competitive. I know for a fact that the management don’t have their team picked so that can only be a good sign.
“There’s lots of competitions for places and you can be sure that the management pick the team on who is playing and who is performing in training and in the challenge games.”
Manager Kieran McGeeney experimented in those challenge matches against Donegal, Derry and Roscommon, and a number of players caught the eye up front.
Livewire attacker Jemar Hall did his chances no harm while the combative Pearse Casey proved a good target man at full-forward against the Oakleafers.
“The thing with Kieran, he’s instilled that culture, that mind-set where everyone is trying to improve all the time,” Forker continued.
“I think that is evident with players coming through all the time and improving all the time.
“Jemar has performed really well in training and Pearse obviously had a tough time with injuries and he deserves a wee break. He’s a real handful when he does go inside.
“There’s definitely a few finds, I suppose, and with the likes of the Dubs and all, it’s no longer a 15-man game.
“It’s 18, 19, 20 men and it can only be good for us if we’re bringing new players on.”
Armagh will be two divisions below Cavan in 2017, but Forker is confident that they can show on the day that they’re every bit as good as their opponents.
“We know how much of a test Cavan are going to be, they’ve performed very well this year, but we can take confidence from the last few games of the League. You can lose a bit of momentum with the long lay-off, but hopefully not.
“We have continued the intensity. Championship is on the day and we’re hoping that we can bring it on the day.”