Ferguson rallies United players for cup final bid

Ballymena United manager Glenn ferguson and striker Matthew Tipton at last week's Irish Cup semi-final press conference. Picture: Press Eye.
Ballymena United manager Glenn ferguson and striker Matthew Tipton at last week's Irish Cup semi-final press conference. Picture: Press Eye.

Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson believes his players can produce another memorable Irish Cup night in Saturday’s semi-final.

The Sky Blues take on Portadown at the Oval (5.30pm), having stared elimination in the face in each of the previous two rounds against Cliftonville and Harland & Wolff Welders.

If we go with the attitude of trying to out-work Portadown, trying to create more chances and defending desperately well, we can win the game.

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson

“It’s an Irish Cup semi-final and regardless of who you’re playing against, it will be a tough, tough game,” said Ferguson.

“Portadown have good players who can play out of position so the loss of their two suspended players isn’t going to make that big a difference, albeit Chris Casement and Robbie Garrett have been two of their best players this year.

“An Irish Cup semi-final can go any way - the team who turns up on the day will be the one who goes through.

“If we go with the attitude of trying to out-work Portadown, trying to create more chances and defending desperately well, we can win the game.

“We conceded five in our last meeting with Portadown but also scored five - although I’d rather not have that sort of heart attack material again!

“I wouldn’t like to go through that range of emotions again - if it’s a drab 1-0 win I’ll take that but if we put in a performance we have a chance of being back in the Irish Cup final.”

The manager hopes to have defender Johnny Taylor available after his foot injuiry sustained in the quarter-final win over Harland & Wolff Welders proved to be not as serious as first thought.

“Johnny is a tough lad and he is determined to make Saturday’s game, but we will have to wait and see,” said ferguson, who won’t have the services of another centre-back, Davy Munster, who sustained a groin strain in training.

Gary Thompson and David Cushley have completed bans and will be available for selection.

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