Belfast Telegraph

Chambers has no fear as Ballyclare Comrades battle Linfield

By Keith Bailie

Gordon Chambers knows his Ballyclare Comrades side faces an almost impossible task when they take on Linfield in the IRN-BRU League Cup tonight.

However, he is delighted that the club has the opportunity to host the tie against the Blues at their re-furbished Dixon Park.

Comrades boss Chambers said: “It's a match that isn't too big for us to hold. A lot of work has gone into making Dixon Park a top ground and there are now fantastic facilities for both home and away fans.

“An awful lot of hard work went in to upgrading our facilities and tonight's match is a nice reward for those who put all that effort in.

“It's also a boost for the club financially. If we're being realistic the chances of us winning the League Cup are pretty slim, so a good gate is a nice bonus.”

Chambers, who saw his side relegated from Championship One last season, is looking forward to pitting his wits against David Jeffrey tonight, even though the odds are stacked against him.

“Playing the best team in the country is a big task for us, but it is a task we relish,” he said.

“We're really looking forward to it because we have always had a good relationship with Linfield.

“We've played them in pre-season on a number of occasions, but this is the first time we've played them competitively since I have been in charge and I'm looking forward to the challenge.”

Linfield are likely to make some changes to their starting 11, but that won't make the task any less daunting for the Comrades, who are in the middle of an injury crisis.

Chambers explained: “David Jeffrey could name two teams full of quality if he wanted.

“We, on the other hand, have had a lot of injuries this season.

“My options are very limited, I've been unable to name the same 11 two games in a row this season, but the players who have come in have been superb.

“We've won eight of our nine games so far, but this is a much more difficult task. I see it as a good opportunity for our players to pit themselves against some of the best players in the country.”

Chambers and Ballyclare have bounced back well from relegation and they currently top the Championship Two table.

Chambers said: “Relegation last season was bitterly disappointing for the club and for me personally. A lot of soul searching was done and a lot of thought was put into deciding what was the best way forward.

“I wanted the opportunity to right the wrong and get us back into Championship One. So far, I couldn't have asked for any more from the players.”

Elsewhere the tables have turned for the Belfast Big Two.

For years Glentoran fans have fired jibes at Linfield over easy cup draws. Now, however, it’s the Glens who will face the lowest ranked team left in the competition when they host Killymoon Rangers, who are currently stuck to the bottom of Championship Two.

Seven other Championship Two clubs will attempt to make the last 16, but they are all away from home.

IRN-BRU LEAGUE CUP SECOND ROUND (7.45pm unless stated): Ballinamallard United v Limavady United (8.00pm), Ballyclare Comrades v Linfield, Ballymena United v Chimney Corner, Bangor v Annagh United, Cliftonville v Ards, Coleraine v Knockbreda, Crusaders v PSNI, Dergview v H&W Welders, Donegal Celtic v Wakehurst, Dungannon Swifts v Loughgall, Glenavon v Coagh United, Glentoran v Killymoon Rangers, Lisburn Distillery v Tobermore United, Newry City v Larne, Portadown v Warrenpoint Town.

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