Belfast Telegraph

Lyttle: My boys can step up game and be Cliftonville legends

By Graham Luney

Gerard Lyttle is urging his Cliftonville players to become legends at Solitude tonight.

If the Reds can see off Ards in the JBE League Cup final (5.30pm) they will become the first club to win the prize for four consecutive years.

It would be a phenomenal achievement by the north-Belfast side and for Lyttle it would also be his first piece of silverware as a manager.

"The prospect of winning this great trophy for four years in a row is a great incentive for everyone," said Lyttle.

"Legendary status is waiting for us. For the boys on the teamsheet that's a huge incentive. There is history to be made here and hopefully we can do that.

"They always say you want to get your first trophy in the bag but this is not about me and my personal goals, it's about the team and this group of players and the hard working people around the club.

"Solitude is looking as well as I have seen it and that's a credit to everyone who helps out here. The professionalism at this club has gone through the roof and long may it continue.

"The boys are buzzing and chomping at the bit to get going."

Cliftonville will have home advantage for the decider and Lyttle has sympathy for those who feel a neutral venue should have been chosen.

"I would have preferred a neutral venue," he added.

"It's a final and you'd like to get away from your own surroundings.

"You can call me old fashioned but I feel a final such as this one should be played elsewhere.

"But you could also look at this as a disadvantage to us as there is added pressure and expectation.

"We are meant to win this given our good home record but we will play that down and focus on what we have to do.

"We are too long in the tooth to show arrogance and that's not being arrogant or big headed. We have been in many cup finals over the last five years and we know how to prepare for them and our record shows we can win the trophies.

"Our players are experienced and professional enough not to let complacency creep in and myself and my backroom team won't let that happen."

Ards boss Niall Currie joked that if his side lifted the trophy "you would not see me for a month!"

He added: "If Ards won the League Cup it would be as good an achievement as this club has managed in a long, long time. We are not talking about a Steel and Sons Cup or a trophy at our level.

"You are talking about a competition featuring all the senior teams.

"It's the second biggest knockout competition in the country and for a Championship One side to reach the final is extraordinary.

"It would be an unbelievable achievement.

"We'll show no fear and give it a real go."

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