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Dungannon McAree staying positive despite Swifts' injury woes ahead of League Cup semi-final

By Adrian Rutherford

Dungannon Swifts could be without five first-team players for tonight's BetMcLean League Cup semi-final.

The Swifts face Crusaders, aiming to make their first major final in over a decade.

They are without January signings Mark Patton and Daniel Hughes, who are both cup-tied.

Liam McMenamin is also absent with an ongoing hamstring injury, and Seanan Clucas and Dougie Wilson will undergo late fitness tests.

Both were injured in a clash of heads against Coleraine on January 13, and head coach Rodney McAree is waiting for the green light from medical staff.

Yet McAree won't let the injury problems overshadow Dungannon's hopes of a first major final since the 2007 Irish Cup.

"We are missing a few key individuals but it's the semi-final of a major cup and it's something we've got to relish," he said.

"It's an opportunity to get to a final, and those opportunities don't come around too often."

Midfielder Ryan Mayse should return after missing Saturday's win over Ards because of a family bereavement.

Dungannon's League Cup quest started with a 4-0 win over Newry back in August. They beat Warrenpoint in the last 16, before an injury-time victory over Ballyclare in the quarter-finals.

McAree, however, admits the Crues will pose a huge test.

"Crusaders are free-flowing, free-scoring and are very good going forward," he added. "They cause problems, and defensively they are solid. But it's the semi-final of a cup and we have to look forward to it."

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