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Gray aiming to repeat famous win over Reds

By Billy Weir

Published 15/12/2015

Spot on: Jonathan Parr celebrates Warrenpoint Town’s Irish Cup win over Cliftonville back in 2011
Spot on: Jonathan Parr celebrates Warrenpoint Town’s Irish Cup win over Cliftonville back in 2011

Tonight's JBE League Cup semi-final date with Cliftonville is the biggest match in the history of Warrenpoint Town, according to Barry Gray.

The Town boss is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing his side at Milltown this evening against a Reds outfit looking to lift the trophy for the fourth time in a row.

Town are currently well adrift at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership table and the chance to reach a first senior final would be a much-needed shot in the arm for everyone connected with the club.

"It's a semi-final and you have to give it a go. We're at home, although having said that we haven't won a game at home all season!" joked Gray.

"We always seem to do well against Cliftonville. It's a welcome distraction for us and if it works for us, it works for us, if it doesn't, it doesn't.

"Our priority is the league but if you have a wee League Cup final in the middle of it, it would make things a bit easier.

"It's good for the boys too, it's a break from the slog of the league and an occasion for the club.

"It's our first senior semi-final. It's certainly the highest ranked game in our history and we're well capable of beating Cliftonville, we know that and they know that."

They certainly do. As big an underdog as they are tonight, they were mere pups when they nibbled at the heels of the Reds when they dumped them out of the Irish Cup in 2011.

A draw at home was followed by a scoreless replay and penalty shoot-out win at Solitude and Gray will hope to resurrect that type of display again.

"We're underdogs and it's a title we fully deserve, no-one could argue with that," said Gray, who will be without the services of the suspended Stephen Moan after his dismissal on Saturday.

"It's probably good for us, we don't do well in cup competitions in the past when we come up against lower opposition.

"If you get to the semi-final no-one is interested. You don't want to win it because it's a semi-final, you want to win it because it gets you to a final.

"Whoever you have to beat to get there, everyone's eyes are on the final and wanting to get there, but unfortunately Cliftonville stand in the way of that.

"The Irish Cup match four years ago went to a replay and we won the penalty shoot-out. It was a nice night."

That may be a slight understatement and if they upset the odds and the formbook for another "nice night" this evening it would be another red letter day in the history of the club.

Belfast Telegraph

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