Breslin set to shuffle Red’s pack

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin
Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin

Cliftonville striker Diarmuid O’Carroll will miss tonight’s Setanta Cup first round, first leg clash against Cork City at Turner’s Cross (7.45pm).

The in-form former Glenavon man is suspended – a punishment carried over from last season.

Reds boss Tommy Breslin has promised to ‘freshen up’ his squad and will promote a number of fringe players – with an eye on Saturday’s crucial Premier League game with second placed Crusaders which is looming at the weekend.

“Unfortunately, Diarmuid is banned,” said Breslin. “I’ll be using the full extent of our squad for the trip to Cork. That’s what the panel is there for. I’ll be giving players, who haven’t been on the pitch as much in recent weeks, game time and we’ll also be taking some of our young reserve team players.

“The team that will start will have first team experience and I’ll be expecting a performance. We want to win every game we play and it goes without saying we want to progress in this competition.

“This is the first leg so our aim is to keep the tie alive for the return leg at Solitude on Monday week.

Breslin admits the events of next weekend are a priority for the Premier League table toppers

“It would be silly not to think about the Crusaders game,” he added. “That’s an important fixture in terms of the league, so it has to come down to priorities.

“If this leg had been at home, my thoughts might have been different, but it’s crucial we give some of our senior players a rest and not have them travelling to Cork a few days before a massive league game.”

It will be the first taste of competitive action for Tommy Dunne’s Cork City and Breslin is expecting a difficult 90 minutes.