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Life mimics Ard

Cliftonville travel to Clandeboye Park this evening bidding to bounce back to winning ways against an Ards side with a similar mentality.

Just as the Reds continue to lead the Danske Bank Premiership in the wake of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Ballymena United, so too do John Bailie’s side top the Lough 41 Championship despite falling to a similar reverse at the hands of Loughgall last time out – and tonight’s League Cup third round joust offers both sides an opportunity to quickly shake those disappointments out of their system.

“We go again to try to start another run and bounce back as quick as we can,” said Paddy McLaughlin, whose side find themselves firmly in the grip of an ongoing two-games-per-week schedule.

“It’s an unforgiving and uncompromising League at times and nobody is going to hang about waiting for us to pick ourselves up again.

“We’ve got so much quality and good numbers, all fit and raring to go, and we’ll look to get back to business.”

This evening’s Bangor battle represents the sides’ second meeting of the season after Cliftonville came out on top in a July friendly at Solitude.

Former Reds striker Daniel Reynolds gave Ards an early lead on that occasion and Darius Roohi bagged a late consolation after the Reds had hit back to lead 3-1 courtesy of goals from Chris Curran, Joe Gormley and Jamie McDonagh.

As was the case that night, this latest encounter will see a host of faces familiar to Cliftonville supporters bedecked in opposition colours, although double Premiership title-winning defender Jaimie McGovern will miss out through suspension following the skipper’s dismissal at the weekend.

Loanee striker Calvin McCurry will also be sidelined against his parent Club and, in addition to the aforementioned Reynolds, goalkeeper Brian Neeson is joined in the former Reds contingent by Kym Nelson, Conall McGrandles and Christopher Crane, while one of Ards’ most in-form performers is Eamon Scannell, elder brother of Cliftonville striker Conor.

Tonight’s game is pay at the gate with the winners progressing to a quarter-final trip to either Ballinamallard United or Portadown on Tuesday, November 9.

Ards v Cliftonville
Cash turnstiles
Adults: £8
Concessions: £5