By Conor McLaughlin
RORY Donnelly returns to Solitude on Wednesday evening as part of a Swansea City side determined to leave the Cliftonville trophy cabinet that little bit lighter.
The former Reds starlet was part of the team which successfully defended the Ladbrokes Supporters’ Cup crown last summer but, as he prepares for an assault on the trophy in his new colours, his ex-skipper Chris Scannell has warned him to expect a battle.
“You always want to win every match you play but, when there’s a bit of silverware at stake, it concentrates the mind that little bit more and we’re all pretty keen on keeping a hold of it,” says Scannell.
“With our own League campaign kicking off against Glenavon next weekend, having a friendly with a bit of a competitive edge just a few days beforehand is probably perfect for us because it helps us bridge that gap between your normal pre-season and the matches where results really matter.”
Staged on an annual winner-stays-on basis, the Ladbrokes Supporters’ Cup is contested between clubs who have a significant fans presence in their make-up and, having defeated England’s FC United of Manchester in 2010 ahead of last year’s defeat of Stirling Albion in Scotland, Scannell knows his Cliftonville team mates will have to step things up a level if they’re to add a Welsh scalp to their record tonight.
“Anybody on the books of a club in the English Premier League is going to have plenty of quality about them,” he explains.
“You learn different things depending on the standard of your opposition and, as good as it can be to playing and beating Amateur League teams, coming up against Swansea players will be a different task entirely.
“I’m sure Rory would like to pick up the trophy again but so would we and, though we know it’s going to be a very difficult game for us, these are the sort of matches we always look forward to in pre-season.”
Admission to Solitude is via cash payment at the turnstiles and, though prices are at £12 and £6, anyone who produces a ticket stub from last week’s friendly with Celtic will be granted a reduction of £2 and £1 respectively.