Rangers refuse to get carried away as Crusaders lie in wait

Darren McGrath in action for Rathfriland Rangers. Pic: Rathfriland FC
Darren McGrath in action for Rathfriland Rangers. Pic: Rathfriland FC

Rathfriland Rangers aren’t daring to dream just yet.

Last Tuesday’s Irish Cup draw handed the locals a potential dream trip to North Belfast to face current Danske Bank Premiership champions Crusaders.

That potential could become a reality on Saturday afternoon when Rangers travel to Millisle to take on Abbey Villa (kick-off 1.30pm).

However, manager Clifford Sterritt says he isn’t thinking any further ahead than this weekend’s fixture against the early NAFL Division 1A pace-setters.

“I’m not even looking at (the fifth round draw),” he said. “We have to go to the league leaders and they are going to put it up to us.

“Of course, it would be massive for the club and going to Seaview to play the Premiership champions is a great incentive but I don’t want to go into it and get carried away. Abbey Villa will be extremely tough to beat.”

Rangers are six points behind their opponents in the league table with three games in hand.

Both teams have suffered defeat in the league just once this season but Sterritt’s squad won’t be at full strength for this weekend’s game.

He said: “We’ve a pretty light squad this week because we were due to have a free week and a few of the lads have things booked.

“I will still have a strong team, maybe a bit light on the bench but last week we were due to go with two 16 year-olds on the bench. It wouldn’t cause me a bother to do that again because they’ve been playing well. As they say, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

“Abbery Villa are maybe in the same boat as well. That’s all part of amateur football at this time of year.”

And that’s if the match does go ahead at the third attempt. Another postponement could even result in a Boxing Day fixture for the Amateur League outfit.

“We were hopeful it would go ahead last week but the rain and snow overnight on Friday gave us no chance,” said Sterritt. “It’s just a pity the old rule has changed and the match isn’t going to be switched to our ground after two postponements. Their pitch is soft at the best of times but it’s just one of those things.”