Belfast Telegraph

Wilmont is eager to heap more misery on the Blues

By Graham Luney

For Linfield fans, an Irish Cup defeat at home to Glebe Rangers today really would be their worst nightmare.

Well off the pace in the Danske Bank Premiership title race, the top knockout prize in domestic football they won last May takes on even more importance.

Even the Ballymoney minnows aren't expecting a New Year miracle but they have no intention of being lambs to the slaughter at Windsor Park.

Linfield manager David Healy is expected to select a strong line-up because defeat to the Ballymena and Provincial League side would be a new humiliating low in a season that has promised much but until now has delivered little on the domestic front.

The Glebe boys are relishing their big day out and boss Jason Wilmont said: "Our preparations could have been better because for the last seven weeks we haven't played much due to the weather.

"We lost 3-0 to Bangor at the weekend and our lack of match sharpness showed. This is going to be a huge day for the football club, the players and their families.

"We could bring a crowd of around 250 fans with us and it will be a big family day out.

"A number of buses have been organised to bring the fans up and it's a great occasion for the club and Ballymoney. The team went to Windsor a few years ago but it's a completely new stadium now and will be amazing to play in.

"I have friends who are die-hard Coleraine supporters and they are coming to our game rather than going to watch their own team.

"The players will have to work hard because they won't have the ball for long periods and it will be a valuable workout for us. It would be a miracle if we won the game but we will look to frustrate them and force a few chances."

Elsewhere in the fifth round, Glenavon, who won the Irish Cup twice in three years with the party starting in 2014, were handed a tie at Carrick Rangers.

Coach Kris Lindsay said: "It's going to be difficult because you want a team from the lower leagues and a home draw but we got neither. The last few years we have struggled at Carrick so it will be a tough test and we will need to be fully focused for it.

"The semi-final defeat to Coleraine last season was disappointing. We will be going all out to try and win it, it was the catalyst for the success we have had. The Irish Cup wins gave us the momentum and desire to do better and the financial rewards are good.

"I've one winner's medal from my time at Linfield, we beat Coleraine 2-1 in the 2008 final. I was lucky enough to be captain and lift the Cup with Glenavon the first time. I've great memories and any player will tell you it's the best day of the season."

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