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Reddy and willing

Paddy McLaughlin says that he doesn’t need to lift the mood of his players for tomorrow’s Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup second round tie with Glentoran.

The Reds travel to The Oval after controversial defeats in their first two post-split Danske Bank Premiership fixtures but, far from feeling down, the Manager insists his squad – frustrated by a string of questionable penalty decisions against them in both of those outings – are eagerly looking forward to the game.

“I don’t need to pick the players up, the players are grand,” said McLaughlin, who contends that only one of the four spot-kicks awarded in those matches was the correct call.

“They’re kicking the door down to get back out on the pitch because they know what’s happened, they know what’s cost them.

“There’s been a siege mentality since I’ve been here. We’ve seen a lot of decisions over the last two years very controversially going against us so it’s nothing new but this is the business end of the season and these decisions can cost the club financially massively – it could cost us a place in European football, so we can’t keep ignoring it. If this is mid-season with a lot more games to play, no problem, we can get on with it. They say it evens itself out but it doesn’t.”

Tomorrow’s showdown represents a fifth meeting of the season with the Glens, whom the Reds will also face on Premiership duty next weekend, and McLaughlin is not surprised that it has been selected for live streaming by BBC Sport NI.

“This is a big game for both sides, the tie of the round,” he added.

“Glentoran will want to retain their Cup and we’re trying to end the long wait that our supporters have had. 42 years is a crazy record for such a big Club that’s had so many great sides over the years.

“Not to have won the Cup in that long is amazing almost, but it’s up to us to try and end that this year.

“We’ll have no problem getting ready for it, there’s no problem with our confidence, the only worry is the decisions that have been going against us costing us matches at the minute.”