IF the form book was anything to go by, Talbot would be firm favourites for their Scottish Cup encounter with Ayr United.

The Honest Men haven’t won any of their last five matches – losing their last two – while Talbot have won their last eight on the bounce, are unbeaten in 13 and have only lost once in 29 games.

And Talbot boss Tommy Sloan was optimistic of their chances ahead of the fourth tie at Beechwood Park.

Sloan said: “The boys looked confident at the end of the Cumnock match so that’s all we can do, keep winning games with our tails up and hopefully – we’ll need a wee break on the day but hopefully we can dig out a result. We know we are up against it.

“We will need players this week. It’s going to be a temple of a game and I think we will need the squad.

“The three substitutes will be key if we are going to do well so it was important to give a run out to certain players [against Cumnock].”

Talbot have never lost a Scottish Cup tie in which they’ve been at home and Sloan admitted he’ll have a decision to make if they want to keep up that record.

He added: “I watched them the other week at Palmerston against Queen of the South when our game against Cambuslang was postponed.

“They dominated the match, down there too, against a team in their own league but they drew 1-1 at the finish up.

“Queens surrendered all the possession to them which I found quite surprising and we don’t normally do that here, we usually have a go at teams so that’s a decision I’ve got to make.

“We will see come the day. I’ve got a few days left to see what happens. It was important that we go into it winning form, it keeps the confidence high and we kept the run going.

“Ayr’s a better side than us, lets not be kidded, they were top of the Championship and we’re well aware of that.

“We can raise our game, we’ve done it before and we’ll need to raise our game next week if we are going to do anything.

“We used to be delighted if they would ask us down for a friendly during the week, Brian Reid used to do that. We love going down and playing the senior sides. We need to try and dig a result out of this though and we know it’s going to be difficult.”

Meanwhile, a scheduling nightmare from the SFA could see Talbot lose out on thousands of pounds if the match is postponed on Saturday.

With subzero temperatures forecast this weekend, volunteers will be out laying frost covers on the Beechwood pitch in a bid to ensure that match goes ahead.

If the weather was to win though, the postponed match wouldn’t be played next weekend – instead the SFA have said it will be played at 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

Supporters – and even some Talbot players – may struggle to get time off work to attend the sell-out match and there would be no guarantee the BBC’s cameras would stay for a postponement.