Down's meeting with Laois to be like championship football
The Mourne County still have everything to play for regarding their league fate when they travel to Portlaoise on Sunday and McCartan tells The Irish News that it's not a bad situation to be in:
"Laois are not going to be easy to beat. Their two wins to date have been against northern teams - Armagh and Donegal.
"Justy [Justin McNulty] would like to make that a trio of northern teams. Apart from Kerry, Cork and Dublin, there aren't that many teams winning away from home.
"This match is the perfect preparation for the first round of the championship. It's like championship football.
"If we win the game, we could be in Croke Park. If we lose, there is a big possibility that we will be falling through the trapdoor.
"In that sense, it's great preparation. Last year, our last two games in the league were dead rubbers. We had no fear of relegation. Our performances maybe tailed off a bit.
"While I would prefer to be sitting on eight points, I am hoping our situation will give that little bit of cut to the contest and we will see where we are at."