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Haughey knows old pal Mitchell is a big threat to Blues

By Graham Luney

Mark Haughey was at Glenavon when Andrew Mitchell was an ambitious teenager hoping to make the breakthrough - now the Dungannon Swifts frontman is a ruthless predator hungry to shatter Linfield's Irish Cup dream on Saturday.

Blues defender Haughey knows all about the power and pace of the 23-year-old who turned down a move to Linfield and Crusaders and opted to return to Mourneview Park next season.

Windsor Park supremo David Healy was disappointed to miss out in the race to land Mitchell's signature and his mood will darken at Mourneview Park on Saturday if Mitchell weaves semi-final magic to kill off the Blues' Irish Cup hopes.

The Premiership's most deadly goal machine with 20 strikes is the Swifts' main dangerman and centre-back Haughey knows his defence will need to watch him like a hawk.

"As we all know, Andrew is a big, strong lad who relishes a physical battle with defenders and his brilliant goalscoring record speaks for itself," said Haughey, who has made 132 appearances for Linfield.

"He's one of a number of Swifts players we will need to keep an eye on but there's no doubt Andrew is someone who has developed into a formidable striker.

"I was with him at Glenavon and he has gone on to prove what a capable and strong striker he is.

"Obviously he is going back there next season and even at that early stage you could see the potential and promise that he had.

"He always was a big lad, bigger than kids his age and he has clearly matured into a better player.

"As the league's top scorer he is someone we are going to have to watch closely but we have plenty of threats in our team too.

"We certainly won't be under-estimating the Swifts, we will show them the respect they deserve and we always have that approach because in this league every side is capable of beating anyone.

"They are capable of turning us over and we know that.

"It's a hugely important time of the season when we have massive league games and hopefully two more Irish Cup games but if we lose our next two matches, to the Swifts and Crusaders, we will be feeling pretty low so we certainly aren't taking anything for granted."

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