Belfast Telegraph

Bournemouth's Josh McQuoid hungry to rattle Liverpool

By Steven Beacom

Bourne is buzzing. Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard will be in town tomorrow for a fascinating FA Cup tie...and Northern Ireland striker Josh McQuoid has warned Brendan Rodgers and the Reds they could be in for a shock.

Liverpool are big favourites to defeat the Championship side and move on to the fifth round of the competition, but McQuoid insists that there is no shortage of confidence in the Bournemouth ranks ahead of the tie.

The 24-year-old, injured for the first half of the season, is hoping to play a part against the Anfield outfit but if not called upon he'll be cheering on his team-mates from the stands at a packed Goldsands Stadium.

"It is going to be a great test for everyone at our club taking on players like Suarez and Sturridge," said McQuoid, whose grandfather hails from Belfast.

"Those are the types of players you want to play against in football. You have to aspire to reach that level.

"Liverpool are looking better than they have done for a while. I think Brendan Rodgers is a good manager and he has them playing good football and believe they'll be up there at the end of the season in the Premier League.

"There's no doubt they are a tough side to beat but we have nothing to lose against Liverpool. Nobody outside of our club truly expects us to defeat them. Among ourselves though we feel confident that we can cause an upset. Our ground will be packed and it'll be a fantastic atmosphere.

"The players are all very excited. There is a lot of hype around the town and there's a real good feeling in our dressing room ahead of the match. We can't wait for Saturday."

McQuoid will find out today if he is in manager Eddie Howe's plans for the fourth round clash.

Bournemouth, nicknamed the Cherries, were tipped by many to struggle in the Championship after winning promotion last season but they have competed well and are in mid-table. After his knee injury woes earlier in the campaign, McQuoid is determined to be involved more in the weeks to come.

"I was injured all season up until about six or seven weeks ago which was very frustrating," he said. "I've been in and out of the squad lately, starting one game and being on the bench. With the team we have now it is going to be tough to get back in but I'm training hard and I have to bide my time. When the chance comes I'll have to take it."

The former Millwall player would also like another opportunity for Northern Ireland.

He has five caps to date, the first in November 2010, when he won a late penalty at Windsor Park, helping to avoid a friendly loss to Morocco, and the last in 2011. He has yet to play for current Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill.

"Playing for Northern Ireland is a great honour and I'd love to do it again at some stage in my career," states McQuoid. "First and foremost I have to get back playing on a regular basis in the Bournemouth side and see where that takes me and if Michael O'Neill wants to pick me I'd definitely be up for it.

"The Northern Ireland lads are great. Being English born I thought it might be a bit difficult joining up with the squad but I was treated superbly and made to feel very welcome.

"I've watched the team's performances in the last couple of years and a lot of time they haven't enjoyed much luck. There have been signs of improvement and it would be great to get back in.

"I loved playing at Windsor Park. The crowd are amazing and the atmosphere was one of the best I've played in. I'd like to experience that again."

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