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No mena feat

Insistence on another high-octane display will be prominent on Cliftonville’s minds when they attempt to tackle Ballymena United at the fourth time of asking in tomorrow’s League Cup Semi Final.

Tuesday night’s postponement saw the fixture (originally scheduled for December 12 and then January 16) rearranged for this weekend, with the Reds visiting The Showgrounds seven days after securing Tennent’s Irish Cup progress with a 4-1 victory over Crusaders – and boss Barry Gray has called for more of the same, especially given the Sky Blues will be operating with home advantage.

“They’re a very difficult team to play against and they have a very good home record, so it will take something to go down there and get a positive result,” he says.

“But (last) Saturday has shown the levels we can hit and we need to build on that now. Making it into the League Cup Final would be great for us all, but there’s a pretty big hurdle standing in our way and not many teams get the better of Ballymena in Ballymena.

“What we saw on Saturday – and it will have been obvious to everyone who was there – was how the team and supporters kept eachother going. The players know that if they go out and give their all, the fans will be there for them, so we need to take that, keep it going and try to turn that into another good result.

“We’ll go down there believing we can get the win we all want and, let’s face it, if you can’t take confidence from a result like Saturday’s then I don’t know what you can take confidence from.

“It’s another game and another tough challenge, but these are the matches you want to be involved in and you can say a lot about yourself if you win them.”