Belfast Telegraph

Irish Cup run can help kick-start Dungannon's season, insists Mark Patton

 

Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Dungannon winger Mark Patton believes the Irish Cup can help turn their season around.

The Swifts, who are struggling in the league, face Institute in an all-Premiership tie at the Brandywell.

Both clubs enter 2020 with relegation fears, and will be hoping for a morale-boosting Cup run.

A year ago, a surprise fifth-round victory at Cliftonville helped get Dungannon's campaign back on track.

Patton, twice an Irish Cup winner with Glenavon, believes a win today could have a similar impact.

"The Irish Cup is always a great day - I have been lucky enough to play in two Cup finals, scoring the winner in one," he said.

"It is good for the so-called smaller clubs like ourselves and hopefully we can get a result.

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"Hopefully it's a good distraction for us, away from the league.

"When things aren't going well for you, everybody looks forward to the Irish Cup.

"Don't get me wrong, it will be a hard game away to Institute, but hopefully we can get a good result and put in a good performance."

Some of the Swifts' best results last season came in Cup games.

They knocked Cliftonville out of the League Cup, and beat the Reds again and Glenavon in the Irish Cup.

However, their Irish Cup run ended against Championship side Ballinamallard, who won on penalties in the quarter-finals at Stangmore Park.

Patton added: "The Irish Cup and Cup games can do that for you - get a run going.

"Again, for us, it is all about staying in games longer and trying to grind things out, especially when things aren't going well."

Dungannon had a difficult end to 2019, with an eight-game losing streak leaving them facing a relegation battle.

They did recover to beat Warrenpoint and draw with Institute in December, and were unfortunate not to take at least a point at Ballymena.

However, the year ended with back-to-back 5-0 defeats at Glenavon and Crusaders and 2020 opened with a 2-0 loss to Glentoran.

Patton added: "At the minute things are not going for us and we are not putting in the performances that we have been, like against Warrenpoint and Ballymena.

"The boys are disappointed - luckily enough the games are coming quickly and hopefully we can get a better performance and a better result.

"If you can get a good result it does build a wee bit of momentum for you.

"On the flipside another defeat can have a negative effect, but hopefully we can turn things around."

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