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Clarke hoping Sproule will face Dergview in Irish Cup tussle

Ballymena Uniteds Dwayne Nelson (left) with Linfields Johnny Toffey at yesterdays Irish Cup draw

Ballymena Uniteds Dwayne Nelson (left) with Linfields Johnny Toffey at yesterdays Irish Cup draw

Dergview manager Richard Clarke admits an Irish Cup romance is on the cards - after hearing Ivan Sproule will join Linfield in next month’s transfer window.

The teams were the first two pulled out of the bowl in yesterday’s draw at the Grand Opera House, courtesy of Glentoran legend Johnny Jameson and former Cliftonville and Coleraine boss Marty Quinn.

The 32 year old has opted to join David Jeffrey’s side rather than Derry City following his release from Scottish club Ross County.

Sproule, from Castlederg, pulled on the Northern Ireland shirt on 11 occasions, scoring one goal, and is determined to bring his career to an end on home soil.

“As far as I know the deal is more or less done (going to Linfield),” said Clarke. 
“His brother, Andy, plays for us, so it would be a great occasion if the move goes through.

“Ivan is a big Dergview man and he always helps us when he can. He has been a big help down the years.

“Realistically, we’ll be going down there (to Windsor) for a good day out. A wee club like ours is never going to win the Irish Cup.

“We are in the lower half of the Championship, but the boys have done really well. We’ve had to cut the budget and haven’t a lot of money to work with.

“I basically rely on players from around the Castlederg area and, to be fair, they have done really well for me.

“A lot of our players have never been near Windsor Park before, so it will be a great occasion for them.”

Clarke admitted Christmas came early when the draw emerged.

“Linfield were out first in the draw, so everyone was holding their breath,” he added.

“We were chuffed to bits when we were next out and we will take a few fans with us to Windsor.”

Meanwhile, new Harland and Wolff Welders manager Gary Smyth stated he relishes the prospect of going head to head with his former chum Glenn Ferguson, who will take his team to Tillysburn.

“I was talking to Glenn last week and said it would be ironic if the teams were pulled out together,” said the former Glentoran favourite.

“It’s a difficult game, but that’s cup football.

“We’ll give them a game at our place. Our friendship will stop for 90 minutes at least.”

 

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