LEAGUE CUP: Carrick facing double goalkeeper fitness test for final

Carrick Rangers manager Aaron Callaghan. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Carrick Rangers manager Aaron Callaghan. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Carrick Rangers’ League Cup Final preparations will run right to the wire - with two of the club’s three goalkeepers on the treatment table before the showdown against Ballymena United.

Experienced club number one Brian Neeson was forced off with a rib injury in last weekend’s league defeat to Linfield and Carrick plan a final fitness test today just hours before the 5.30 kick-off in the showpiece at Seaview.

However, reserve shot-stopper Tyler Briers is also struggling for fitness due to ligament damage sustained on duty in a midweek Premiership Development League game for the under 20s.

France-born Yvan Imbert is next in line for a position between the posts following his arrival at Carrick during the January transfer window.

“In Brian’s case, you cannot really do that much with a rib injury other than the fact time is the great healer,” said Carrick boss Aaron Callaghan.

“All we can do is cross our fingers and make a decision as close as possible to the final on the day but he is rated as 50-50.

“It is about testing just what Brian is capable of coping with, especially as Ballymena United are so strong from set-pieces.

“Realistically, it is out of our control but the overall mood is still so positive ahead of what is a massive occasion.

“Tyler is also going to need a fitness check and Yvan has just come into the club.

“It is either going to be a bonus to have someone with Brian’s experience fit for selection or an opportunity on a wonderful stage for someone else.

“It is great to hear about extra tickets on sale as the real legacy could hopefully prove us attracting additional fans.”

Ballymena United also arrive for the final with selection concerns - with key midfielder Tony Kane the main issue because of hamstring trouble.

The 29-year-old has scored 18 goals this season to stand as second highest in the club charts.