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The heat is all on City, says Currie

Niall Currie insists that his Loughgall players haven’t been affected by the nine-week delay between between their fifth and sixth round games in the Irish Cup.

They will finally face Newry City this afternoon, with Larne thrown out of the competition after the January 16 clash between the teams was abandoned.

Loughgall have been innocent bystanders as the Irish FA tried to sort out the mess that followed the on-pitch brawls at the Newry Showgrounds and now Currie is putting all the pressure on Gerry Flynn’s side.

“It’s been difficult when we’ve been trying to prepare for games and being told at 6.45pm on a Thursday night that we weren’t playing Newry after all on the Saturday and instead we were going to Ballinamallard,” said Currie. “It doesn’t have a bearing on certain things, but it changes the mentality of the players.

“We’ve just had to wait for the outcome safe in the knowledge that we were in the next round.”

The path to the Irish Cup final is clear. The winners of today’s game will meet Coleraine next weekend and Linfield then await in the semi-finals seven days later.

And Currie would love to emulate the Irish Cup run of 1997 that took Loughgall to the last four.

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“We have nothing to lose,” he said.

“There is no pressure on us, all the pressure is on Newry as the Premiership team and they will be expected to win.

“I wasn’t at the club when they reached the semi-final of the Irish Cup and while we know what is in front of us for a club like Loughgall we’ll just take things one step at a time because we’re not expected to get any further than this.”

Today’s game is Loughgall’s third of six in a 12 day period, but Currie would gladly accept a fixture pile-up.

“The games are coming thick and fast, three a week and with a small squad and four or five first-team players missing at the minute it’s difficult to manage,” he said. “If we’ve more games to play then we’ll take it and the players have already said that they’ll be happy with that.”

l Dixie Robinson has lost his appeal after being hit with a six-match ban imposed on him by the Irish FA’s disciplinary committee.

Robinson, who was hit with the heavy suspension after being sent off during Dungannon Swifts’ 4-0 Irish Cup defeat at Linfield last month, will not return to the dug-out until next season.

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