Lisburn Rangers will ‘empty the tank’ in search of an upset

Lisburn Rangers manager Paul Kirk is no stranger to the Irish Cup. Pic: Presseye
Lisburn Rangers manager Paul Kirk is no stranger to the Irish Cup. Pic: Presseye

Lisburn Rangers boss Paul Kirk is hoping that he has the right blend of youth and experience to cause a Cup upset this weekend.

Travelling to take on Championship One side Armagh City tomorrow (Saturday), his Division 1A team have their work cut out for them.

However, Kirk is in optimistic mood.

He does have the vastly experienced Peter McCann to call on. The club captain is a former Portadown and Lisburn Distillery winger and at 34, is by no means past making a huge impact on the game.

Add to that a former Scottish Premier League footballer, and they might just have a chance.

Playmaker David Graham, who had a long career with Scottish clubs such as Dunfermline and Hamilton Academical, is still at the club and will be another key cog if Rangers are to claim a scalp.

Other than that, Kirk is looking to youth to provide the energy that could help to secure a spot in the fifth round.

He said: “I will be missing two or three that signed too late in the season and Conor Strong is also out after getting his appendix removed.

“That gives me an opportunity to use some of our younger players though.”

Kirk had already blooded some fresh talent this season and he’s backing his youth players to make the step up.

He said: “We’ve got some great kids like Ross Doherty. He’s only 16 but came in at left-back a few weeks ago and he performed brilliantly. Nothing phased him. We then let him play with the youth team again last week with a view to bringing him back into the squad on Saturday.

“We have some other great young players and we have good experience in the squad too.”

Kirk knows they will have to play to their maximum if they are to get the win over an Armagh side who are fourth from bottom in Championship One.

He said: “If we perform to the best of our ability, we will give them a hell of a game. If we don’t, we’ll be hit for six.

“These guys are playing at a higher level and a higher intensity every week so we have to come out playing at that level from the start on Saturday.

“It’s a one-off game for us. We can empty the tank and go for it.”

Rangers are currently sitting sixth in Division 1A but Kirk is desperate to see the side into the top Amateur League division.

“The most important thing for us is the league and trying to get into the Premier Division,” he said.