Tommy Breslin hopes lightning doesn’t strike twice for Cliftonville in Irish Cup

TOUGH TEST: Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin
TOUGH TEST: Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin

Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin is hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice as his Reds look to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup.

The Reds suffered defeat to Donegal Celtic in the sixth round last season.

Twelve months on and the two derby rivals go head-to-head at Solitude, and Breslin has urged his players to avoid a repeat of last season’s exit.

“We know only too well the dangers of playing Donegal Celtic,” he said.

“It was disappointing losing last season, but hopefully we can put home advantage to good use this time. We want to go as far as we can in the Irish Cup.”

Meanwhile, Portadown manager Ronnie McFall is confident his players can handle their favourites tag on Saturday.

The Ports are expected to dispose of Championship 1 underdogs Ards at Shamrock Park.

“I don’t have any concerns over the players’ mentality going into this game – their attitude will be right,” McFall said.

“A lot of my players are used to playing in big games, so they know what will be expected of them.

“The Irish Cup presents another chance of silverware, and if we can win on Saturday then we are into the quarter-finals.

“That’s a big incentive on its own and we don’t want to slip-up.”

Elsewhere, Distillery manager Tim McCann is hoping his team can respond, having escaped from relegation worries – for this week at least.

The Whites roll out the welcome mat for Championship 2 side Dundela, with an Irish Cup quarter final spot up for grabs.

“My team talk will focus on the prize at the end of the 90 minutes – we’ll be only two games away from the final,” said McCann.

“It gives us a little respite from the Premier League. I’ll be asking the players to go out and express themselves – it gives up an opportunity to escape from all the worries of being at the bottom of the table.”

Also on Saturday Glentoran travel to Bangor as they look to progress to the quarter-finals.

Eddie Patterson’s side edged past Killymoon Rangers in the last round and know they will need to be focused as they prepare to face the Seasiders.

“We have to be on top of our game or we will end up out of the cup,” he said.

“You can’t afford to be complacent in any game, especially a cup game. Bangor will be fired up and looking to cause an upset. So we have to be focused and ready.”

Elsewhere on Saturday Institute host Kilmore Rec at Drumahoe while Lurgan Celtic entertain Knockbreda in where a quarter-final berth will be a very attractive prospect.