Carrick dreaming of glory but Ards revenge mission puts us in real danger, warns Currie
Carrick Rangers boss Niall Currie accepts that Ards will be out for revenge in today's Irish Cup clash at the Bangor Fuels Arena and labels it a "really dangerous game".
Last May, Ards were the Premiership team and Carrick - who famously won the Cup in 1976 - finished runners-up in the Championship but a 3-1 aggregate victory for Rangers in the promotion/relegation play-off saw the teams replace each other.
So this time it will be Carrick out to avoid being the victims of an upset and Currie has given his players a training night off in preparation for the game.
"The players have done nothing since the game against Coleraine on Wednesday, we've given them a break to recharge the batteries and hopefully they will be nice and fresh," said Currie.
"The Ards starting 11 is still very decent, so we have to make sure we are focused. If we don't go down there with the right attitude, they are perfectly capable of turning us over.
"But this is a cup competition we want to do well in, and can do well in. You are only four games from getting to a good situation, so we'll give everything we have and put out our best team. Lee Chapman will be a big loss (after pulling up with a hamstring problem on New Year's Day) but it's been a wonderful season so far but it would be great to get through a few rounds of the cup and see where we go."
John Bailie's Ards will have new signing Salou Jallow available. The 21-year-old has arrived from Glentoran.
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Elsewhere in the fifth round Warrenpoint Town host PSNI with the Milltown side looking for another strong Cup run.
Last season they reached the semi-finals and should fancy their chances of progressing against the Championship outfit.
Warrenpoint boss Barry Gray has started his January transfer business by recruiting Stuart Hutchinson from PSNI and midfielder Kealan Dillon from Athlone Town.
While Lorcan Forde has returned to Linfield from his loan spell, in form Brandon Doyle has had his loan move extended until the end of the season from the Windsor Park club. Warrenpoint are keen to develop more youth talent and to that end have appointed Seamus Heath as their new Under 20 coach.
Newry City are at home to Bangor today in the Cup with Darren Mullan happy to have signed Brian Cabraley from PSNI and Mark Kelly from Carrick.
Also leaving Carrick is Ashton McDermott who has switched to Premier Intermediate League side Bangor, along with experienced goalkeeper Michael Dougherty, who has left Larne to take up a new challenge with the Seasiders.
Also in the Cup today multiple medal winner Gary Smyth will lead his H&W Welders side at Ballyclare, Ivan Sproule's Dergview go to Knockbreda, East Belfast travel to Banbridge (1.30pm) and Loughgall are at home to Rathfriland Rangers. Last season's beaten finalists Ballinamallard start their campaign versus Dollingstown at Ferney Park.