Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson Jnr has chance to conquer Blues

By Steven Beacom

Glenn Ferguson will forever be a Linfield legend. Tonight, his son Matthew will be aiming to knock the Blues out of the League Cup.

The versatile Ferguson Jnr has been shining for Lisburn Distillery this season, with Whites manager Colin McIlwaine opting to play him up front. Five goals so far indicate it has been the right call.

He wasn't on target on Saturday, however, when Queen's beat Distillery 2-0 in the Steel and Sons Cup. Ironically, Ferguson Snr, who scored over 500 goals in Irish League football, was there for David Healy to run the rule over Linfield's next opponents.

Following in the footsteps of such an icon has not been easy for Matthew, who has had spells at Ballymena United and Dundela, but after moving to Distillery in the summer he is flourishing with the Whites, who have opened up their Premier Intermediate League campaign with three wins out of three to top the table.

"Matthew has been a breath of fresh air. He has worked really hard. He is a true professional, a pleasure to manage and knows what the rewards will be with hard work," said McIlwaine.

"He has come in as a striker and has popped up with five goals. His whole attitude is really good."

Years ago, Distillery and Linfield played each other every season in the top flight. Times have changed with the Whites slipping to two tiers below. Tonight's clash will bring back memories and offer Distillery hope for the future.

"It is a game that was a regular fixture years ago so for the club and some of the older supporters it wouldn't be out of the ordinary, but at this stage in the club's history it is a massive game for us," said McIlwaine. "These are the heights we are trying to reach."

Linfield will be without goalkeeper Roy Carroll, who is on international duty with Northern Ireland, and captain Jamie Mulgrew, injured in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Ballymena.

The Blues will also be without QPR-bound Paul Smyth.

On tonight's game, Healy said: "We won't take Distillery lightly. We've had them watched and done our homework so hopefully our players will be professional."

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