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McFall staying on Cup alert

Ronnie McFall will put out as strong a starting line-up as possible tonight and has told his players that they must stay on top of their game in preparation for next month’s Irish Cup final against Linfield.

The team that McFall put out against Cliftonville on Saturday showed a massive seven changes to that which beat Ballymena United in the cup semi-final seven days before.

Ross Redman, Kevin Braniff and Alan Teggart are all in the running to return against Crusaders this evening, while Darren Kelly will play if flight restrictions are lifted in time to allow him to travel from his home in Yorkshire.

“We had Kevin Braniff and Ross Redman one yellow card away from missing the final and couldn’t take that risk,” said McFall.

“We have others carrying injuries, but I expect Richard Clarke to be back for the final.

“Darren Kelly has got caught up in all these flight cancellations. We could bring him in by boat, but it’s a long drive for him from Yorkshire to Stranraer to come across, so it’s probably not worth the hassle. Other than that everyone who is fit and available will be in contention.

“We have an Irish Cup final to prepare for and it’s important that everyone maintains their match fitness and match sharpness with that match just over a fortnight away now. These three matches are important in keeping momentum going, the last thing we want is to be going into a final on a losing run, so players have to focus on each match and not concern themselves with Linfield.”

The Ports can move to within four points of Crusaders with a victory.

Belfast Telegraph

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