Belfast Telegraph

Town fired up to keep the dream alive, says Tipton

By Alex Mills

Warrenpoint Town boss Matthew Tipton insists his boys are relishing their Tennent's Irish Cup quarter-final clash with Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

Even though Town are almost guaranteed a return to the Premiership having roared 15 points clear in the NIFL Championship, Tipton, who succeeded Barry Gray in the Warrenpoint hotseat, will not become starry eyed just yet.

He has already led the team to a Mid Ulster Cup success and stresses that an Irish Cup semi-final spot would be "a dream come true".

However, the much-travelled Welshman will be taking nothing for granted against a Swifts side that has ace predator Andrew Mitchell bang in form.

"They seem to be scoring goals for fun, especially with big Mitchell up front," said Tipton, who was forced to retire earlier this season due to a knee problem.

"I would rate him as the best striker in the league - he's a handful for any team. But they are not a one-man band. Dungannon have boys like Peter McMahon, Ally Teggart, Jamie Glackin and Ryan Harpur - you can go on and on. So we know how difficult a job it will be."

Tipton, however, stresses that his team will approach the match oozing with confidence.

He said: "We don't look at the game as a distraction from the pressure of picking up points in the league.

"Yes, we want to get over the line in the league race - we are in pole position and we have to remain focused in that respect.

"This game gives us a chance of claiming a semi-final place in the top knockout tournament, so we'll be giving it our best.

"We've done our homework on Dungannon. I went to watch them play Crusaders a few weeks back and they were undone by a bit of magic from Colin Coates and Paul Heatley.

"I've also analysed the goals they conceded against Ards last weekend, but a few of them were special. Dungannon are an established Premier League club that has probably just missed out on a top six place, so that tells us all we need to know."

Even though Warrenpoint were relegated from the top flight last season, a nucleus of the squad remained at the club.

"The boys have been fantastic and they are determined to get back to the Premiership," said Tipton. "Our skipper Liam Bagnall has led by example. People tend to forget he is still only 23.

"Johnny Parr, Stephen Moan and Stephen King have also been instrumental in our surge to the top. We'll not become carried away. We still have a job to do to get over the line."

Tipton, however, already has one eye on the Premiership, having signed former Cliftonville, Portadown and Newry City striker Darren Murray on a pre-contract deal.

"He's proved he can score goals at the top level. Signing players like that shows the ambition of this club," added Tipton.

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