Tennent’s Irish Cup: Institute v Warrenpoint Town

Lee Duffy
Lee Duffy

Institute manager Paddy McLaughlin is hopeful striker Michael McCrudden will be fit for Saturday’s Irish Cup home tie against Warrenpoint.

However if selected McCrudden would be cup tied for the remainder of the competition and may harm his chances of moving to another Premiership club during the January transfer window.

“Look Michael is available for selection like everyone else is, and like everyone if they are able and good enough to go into the team then they play, yes he has been carrying a few knocks in recent weeks, in fact he has been living with pain killers to get through games for the two weeks, but if he’s fit,” he stated.

“As far as we are concerned Michael is our player to at least the end of the season and that’s the same for every player, they are all contracted until the end of the season and some have already signed up for next season.”

The ’Stute boss believes McCrudden is currently the best player in the Danske Bank Premiership.

His skipper has netted 18 goals this season and is joint top scorer in the division alongside Joe Gormley.

“I believe at this minute in time Michael McCrudden is the best player in the league, there’s no doubt about it,” he insisted.

“But as I said Joe Gormley is a serious player in the Irish League and his goalscoring record probably will never be beaten, but in my opinion Michael is the best player in the Irish League.

Meanwhile, Warrenpoint Town boss Stephen McDonnell is hoping to build on one of his side’s best performances of the season by introducing three fresh faces.

An emphatic 3-1 defeat of Glenavon on New Year’s Day handed McDonnell a dream start to 2019 and managed to maintain the positive momentum developed despite six successive Danske Bank Premiership defeats to kick off the season.

Now he enters an Irish Cup tie away to Institute counting down towards international clearance for three January signings.

Dundalk-born McDonnell has utilised his League of Ireland contacts to snap up striker Lee Duffy and centre-back Hernany Macedo Marques, players previously with, respectively, Drogheda United and St Pat’s.

Goalkeeper Jared Thompson comes to the Irish League on loan from Chelsea as an England youth international level.

“Our signings should have international clearance in time and we hope they’ll feature for the Irish Cup tie at Institute,” said McDonnell.