Belfast Telegraph

East Belfast are all revved up for quest to shock Linfield: Wilson

East Belfast manager Stephen Matthews
East Belfast manager Stephen Matthews

By Graham Luney

East Belfast FC are determined not to be lambs to the slaughter when they take on Danske Bank Premiership champions Linfield at Windsor Park tonight (7.45pm).

The Amateur League side face a daunting challenge against David Healy's men in the first round of the Toals Co Antrim Shield.

Just two days after Northern Ireland were unable to stage their own giant killing act against Germany, the East Belfast boys are hoping to spring a major surprise at the international venue.

Assistant manager Paul Wilson says the squad is determined to give the Blues a run for their money.

"The boys are looking forward to taking on Linfield and none of them have missed training, so they all want to play," said the former Dundela man.

"This season has been okay, we have only had one defeat when Bangor beat us in the Steel and Sons Cup.

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"We have been to Windsor a few times and the previous scorelines have mostly been 1-0.

"I actually played in one of them in a County Antrim Shield tie in the early 1990s.

"Linfield are the league champions and they've just missed out on the Europa League group stages.

"That's the size of the task ahead of us. We are going to be up against it as big underdogs.

"It's important we enjoy the occasion and play as well as we can.

"We will give it a rattle but it will be a very tough test for any Amateur League side."

One danger man the Blues will need to keep a close eye on is striker Danny Perkins, who smashed in close to 60 goals last season. "That's an incredible goalscoring record at any level," added Wilson.

The winners of the tie will face Cliftonville in the second round.

• Former Northern Ireland international Rory Patterson has joined Ballymacash Rangers, the club managed by Michael Gault.

The 35-year-old former Derry City and Crusaders frontman played with Gault at the Blues.

"This is a massive signing for the club and is sure to improve our chances of success," said Gault.

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