TENNENT’S IRISH CUP: Ards boss Niall Currie insists pressure is ‘all on Glentoran’

The clean-up operation continues at The Oval
The clean-up operation continues at The Oval

Ards boss Niall Currie insists the pressure is all on Glentoran ahead of Saturday’s Tennent’s Irish Cup fifth round clash at The Oval.

The North Down boys have suffered only one league defeat this season, which has helped propel them to the top of the Championship 1 table – a whopping seven points clear of second place H&W Welders.

In contrast, Alan Kernaghan’s Glentoran experienced a horrible Festive period, suffering back to back defeats by rivals Linfield and Dungannon Swifts.

“We’ll be underdogs and that suits us,” said Currie.

“Our form is good and, in many ways, the pressure is off us and all on Glentoran. We’ll be going there to enjoy it.”

Ards haven’t won at the East Belfast venue for an astonishing 29 years. Their last victory there was back in January 10, 1978, when Raymond Hill bagged a late winner.

Their latest defeat at The Oval came in the fifth round last season when Glentoran ran out 2-0 winners, courtesy of goals from Danny McKee and Fra McCaffrey.

Ironically, McKee, the December Championship 1 player of the month, has just returned to Glentoran following a five month loan spell at Ards, but will play no part tomorrow.

“Unfortunately, I’m cup-tied,” said McKee.

“But I’m going back to Glentoran a better player. I’m grateful for Niall Currie giving me the chance at Ards.

“I scored a few goals, so I’d like to think I have repaid the faith he showed in me. I’ve told Alan Kernaghan I’m ready to knuckle down, train hard and ready to make an impact in the first team.”

Currie has been busy in the January sales, bringing in centre back Ryan Arthur, Kyle Buckley and David McCullough. He should have striker Stephen O’Neill back after illness.

Meanwhile, Glentoran boss Kernaghan has bolstered his squad by signing the experience Chris Morrow from Crusaders until the end of the season, while Chris Lavery has come in from Donegal Celtic.