Irish Cup is a nice distraction admits Warrenpoint boss Barry Gray

Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray
Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray

Warrenpoint Town boss Barry Gray hopes the Irish Cup acts as a welcome distraction for his battle-hardened players.

Warrenpoint’s sixth round tie with Linfield was in doubt right up to Thursday afternoon as the Darren Forsyth eligibility dispute rumbled on.

But after getting the all-clear from the Irish FA, the Milltown club can once again turn their attention to matters on the pitch.

And for Gray – whose side is currently in the throes of a relegation scrap in the Premiership – Saturday’s trip to Windsor Park is a welcome fixture.

“In the league you are always looking over your shoulder. You are always looking at other results,” he said.

“So Saturday’s cup game is a welcome break from that pressure. We can focus on one game and give it our best shot.

“The league is our bread and butter. We are scrapping for our lives at the bottom. So this is something different.

“But we won’t approach the cup with a laissez-faire attitude. We will go to Windsor looking to cause an upset, and we are more than capable of doing that.”

Warrenpoint go into Saturday’s game brimming with confidence following an encouraging run of form.

The County Down side have lost just once in their last 10 outings, a streak that has lifted them off off the bottom of the Premiership.

This week’s positive news on striker Forsyth’s eligibility should also act as a catalyst.

“It was great to get the all-clear, and it has given everyone a real lift,” Gray added.

“There is a buzz around the place and it is nice to be concentrating on football once again.

“It has been a tough few days but we got the right result in the end.

“Not we can fully focus on football, and we have some massive games coming up and we want to win as many as we can.

“Saturday is the Irish Cup and everyone loves the competition. People look out for shocks and hopefully we can record one at Windsor Park.

“It is a big test for us but one we are relishing.”

Irish Cup sixth round matches: Ballyclare Comrades v Dungannon Swifts, Bangor v Crusaders, Carrick Rangers v Institute, Cliftonville v Ballymena United, Glentoran v Armagh City, Harland and Wolff Welders v Glenavon, Linfield v Warrenpoint Town, Portstewart v Portadown.