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Reds will not be taking Seasiders lightly: Breslin

By Conor McLaughlin

Tommy Breslin wants Cliftonville to build on Saturday's victory over Ballymena United by making further League Cup progress against Bangor at Solitude this evening.

The holders are heavily tipped to book their place in the last four, but after a turbulent month of frustrating performances and results, Breslin is taking absolutely nothing for granted when the Seasiders come calling.

"The win at the weekend was important for us in terms of lifting confidence and putting smiles back on faces," he explained.

"We didn't play as well as we would have liked but that's been the case for a wee while now and all that really mattered was getting the result.

"We needed somewhere to build from and hopefully we are now in place to do just that.

"It's a case of building things up bit by bit, one game at a time and seeing if we can play our way back into the sort of form we know we're capable of but that's not to say we'll be underestimating Bangor in any way, shape or form.

"They'll come to Solitude without any pressure on them and I'm sure they're looking forward to showing what they can do.

"They are having a good season and have really kicked on from last year, when they avoided relegation on the final day.

"They're not the same team as they were and we'll afford them every respect because they've earned their place in the quarter finals just as we have done."

Doubtless one of the players Breslin's men will be forced to keep an eye on is former Cliftonville striker Stephen O'Neill who, like Seasiders team-mate Colin Nixon, is no stranger to finding the net against the Reds, who have two of their young starlets on loan at Clandeboye Park.

Neither Darren Stuart nor Anthony McGonnell are expected to be involved tonight, however, while the hosts will again be minus the suspended Marc Smyth in addition to nursing a few knocks from their weekend work-out.

"Ronan Scannell came off with a knock to his ankle against Ballymena and George McMullan was on the end of a few hefty challenges so we may have to make a few amendments," adds Breslin.

"We do have players itching to come in and show what they can do, with Eamonn Seydak back after a while out with injury and the likes of Diarmuid O'Carroll, Martin Murray and now Chris Scannell giving us extra options in attack, plus guys like Ciaran Doherty and Joe McNeill as well, so we have a good mix but I won't be making changes for the sake of it.

"We did very well in this competition last year and we'd love to keep a hold of it but, before we can start thinking of that or even thinking about a semi-final, we have to get the better of Bangor first.

"Obviously on paper, a lot of people would look at it and say Cliftonville are overwhelming favourites and I'm sure the bookies would agree but upsets happen in football and I fully expect Bangor to come and give a good account of themselves.

"They have a lot of good players on their books and you can't just ignore that, but I would hope that we can build on the win over Ballymena and try to get a few more positive results on the board."

Belfast Telegraph


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