Last season's League Cup final match-winner Ryan Mayse has swapped Dungannon Swifts for Ballymena United (c) Presseye

BETMcLEAN LEAGUE CUP: THIRD ROUND PREVIEW

The first of two nights of BetMcLean League Cup action starts tonight with a place in the quarter-finals the prize for the five winners.

Ballymena United v HW Welders (venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; kick-off: 7.45pm)

These two familiar opponents meet once again at the Showgrounds once again tonight having been drawn against each other in cup competitions seven times in the last six seasons. The Sky Blues returned to their Showgrounds home in style with a 3-0 win against Newry City on Saturday and will be looking to make amends for their disappointment of last season’s League Cup final defeat to Dungannon Swifts by progressing to the quarter-finals tonight. Welders manager Norman Kelly will be no stranger to the Showgrounds as he was previously assistant manager at the Braidmen under Glenn Ferguson.

Cliftonville v Carrick Rangers (venue: Solitude; kick-off: 7.45pm)

The Reds boast one of the most successful League Cup records of recent years but were knocked out the competition at the semi-final stages last season. Barry Gray will aim to pick his team up from their televised defeat to Crusaders on Friday evening.

Carrick Rangers took some time to adjust to life back in the second tier following their relegation but Niall Currie’s men go into the game following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Loughgall. The East Antrim side were finalists in 2017, losing to Ballymena United and overcame Sport and Leisure Swifts comfortably in the last round of this year’s competition.

Crusaders v Ballinamallard United (venue: Seaview; kick-off: 7.45pm)

Stephen Baxter is hoping that a win over struggling Championship side Ballinamallard United will potentially propel the Crues to a first League Cup triumph since 2012. It’s been a tough season for Harry McConkey and the Mallards, as they are currently rooted to the bottom of the Bluefin Sport Championship after their eighth defeat in nine games this season on Saturday against Dundela.

Dergview v Ards (venue: Darragh Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)

Colin Nixon’s side make the long trip to Castlederg in search of a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup. The North Down side last reached the final of the League Cup in 2016 and narrowly defeated Newington in the second round. Peter Allen’s Dergview are currently eighth in the Championship, and lost 2-1 to Ballyclare Comrades on Saturday.

Warrenpoint Town v Dungannon Swifts (venue: Q Radio Arena; kick-off: 7.45pm)

The holders Dungannon Swifts travel to Premiership rivals Warrenpoint, desperately looking to retain their place in the competition as new manager Kris Lindsay aims for his first victory as new Swifts’ boss. February’s final victory seems a long time ago now with the Tyrone side currently bottom of the Premiership, with tonight’s hosts two points and two places above them in tenth.