County Antrim Shield: Gary Haveron says Carrick Rangers will be ‘up for the battle’

Carrick Rangers manager Gary Haveron
Carrick Rangers manager Gary Haveron

Carrick Rangers boss Gary Haveron insists whatever team he fields in the County Antrim Shield will be “up for the battle”.

Haveron will rotate his squad for Tuesday’s quarter-final clash with Harland and Wolff Welders at Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena.

But despite having one eye on Saturday’s Premiership test with Ballymena United, the Carrick chief insists he is not taking the Shield challenge lightly.

“We have the Welders on Tuesday night, but I am also aware we have a massive game against Ballymena in the league on Saturday,” Haveron said.

“Again, the Premiership is the main objective for us. We have to prioritise as we go along this season.

“That’s not saying we will underestimate the Welders – they are a super side who are having a great season to date. Gary (Smyth) is doing a fantastic job, and they will be lifted by the fact he is staying there despite the Glentoran speculation.

“There is a semi-final up for grabs – that’s the carrot for the players and the club,” he added.

“Our priority is staying in the Premiership – that is our number one aim.”

Despite Premiership points being top of Haveron’s wish-list, the Carrick chief is aware that a semi-final lies in wait for the winners of Tuesday’s Shield tie.

“Any team I put on the park will be ready. I expect them to be competitive. I believe in every player at the club, so they all deserve their place in the team,” said Haveron.

“Some of them might be younger, but they have the potential to progress. And they need opportunities.”