Stage set for ex-Linfield star as Glentoran come to Knockbreda
Over a decade ago Miguel Chines was the “next big thing” in Irish League football.
The gifted Portuguese ace had more tricks up his sleeve than Paul Daniels.
Miguel's problem was that Linfield had so many high quality players back then it was extremely difficult for a youngster, even with his potential, to break through at Windsor Park.
Not getting the game time he had hoped for in the first team Chines left the Blues, moving on to play for Dungannon Swifts and Glenavon with many fans in the game here feeling his early promise was unfulfilled.
It doesn't bother Chines that the “next big thing” tag came to nothing.
He laughs out loud when I recall those days.
“That was a long time ago. Things have moved on from then,” he says.
And so has Chines.
For starters he's 33 now and not that fresh faced kid who excited the Linfield faithful when he would come off the bench to play at a time when manager David Jeffrey had the outstanding Glenn Ferguson, Chris Morgan, David Larmour and Lee Feeney at his disposal.
He says he misses those days “but not too much”.
The big time will beckon again for Chines tomorrow when he'll be playing for Belfast Telegraph Championship Two outfit Knockbreda against Glentoran in the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup.
The Glens are massive favourites for the last eight clash, which will be staged at a packed Breda Park.
After all their financial woe Glentoran followers are dreaming of an Irish Cup final this season. Let's face it they could do with one to pay some bills and to lift the gloom.
Knockbreda manager Hugh Sinclair and his team, including their star striker Chines, however, have other ideas.
They are planning to create a monumental shock.
“This is the biggest game to date for our club being in the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup. We have never been this far before,” says Chines, who has now been with Knockbreda for six years.
He adds: “Glentoran will provide a huge test for us. I would say there is a big gulf between the teams but we do believe we can cause an upset otherwise there would be no point turning up.
“If we work hard as a team there is a chance for us even if it is a small one. It is 11 v 11 and that's what we must remember.
“I think we will be chasing the ball a lot but not as much as would have been the case at the Oval.
“The fact that the match is at our ground gives us belief that we can cause them some problems.
“We played them in pre-season and did well beating them 3-2. We were at our very best then and to be honest they weren't.
“Pre-season is different to now of course and Saturday will be a completely different game with so much at stake, but it is good for the players to have that experience.
“The Glens are coming into the game on the back of a good win over Glenavon in the league in midweek so we expect them to be strong and confident, but for everyone connected with our club this is a game to savour and that's hopefully how we'll approach it on the day.
“I would like us to enjoy it against the Glens and hopefully not get caught up in the occasion and let it pass us by.
“There have been clubs from lower leagues before who have been at this stage and they got caught up in the big occasion and found themselves three, four or five goals down and the game was over before they knew it.
“We must make sure that doesn't happen to us and that we make it competitive. We're really ready for this game and aim to do our supporters, our manager and the club proud.”