INSTITUTE boss, Paul Kee has warned his players not to underestimate the quality of Amateur League outfit, Rathfriland Rangers when they lock horns in the Irish Cup at the Riverside Stadium on January 12th next.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The Waterside men were paired with the Co. Down side in yesterday’s fifth round draw and while Kee admits the priority this season remains promotion, he is hoping they can go on extended run in the cup having managed to avoid all of the Premier League representatives.
“They’re an Amateur League side but the most important thing about the cup is to try and get a home draw and we’ve been able to do that and then, after that, you take whoever gets presented to you,” said Kee.
“Obviously the big teams are in it at this point and if you don’t get them then your next preferred option is probably an amateur league team.
“But, at the same time, if you don’t approach the game in the correct manner then you could end up being the victims of a giant killing. So we have to be very weary of the opposition.”
The Iveagh Park club have recently appointed ex-Irish League player and manager, Alan Fraser as their new manager following Brian Adair’s shock resignation last month, and Kee believes the new boss will be confident of causing an upset when they arrive in Drumahoe.
“They’re a progressive wee club,” added the ‘Stute boss. “It’s their big day out and they will be coming up with the feel good factor as it’s the cup and they will enjoy the day out and give it their all.
“Therefore we have to match their enthusiasm and intensity and hopefully we have enough quality to get us through. But we won’t underestimate them, that’s for sure.
“Every game you play no matter if it’s the league or the cup, you want to win it,” he continued. “Obviously the priority for us this year is the league and it still is but there’s no reason why we can’t put in a good effort in the cup and see how far we go because it’s a major cup competition.
“We just have to look after the Rathfiland game and if we get past that then we can look forward to the next round and at that point you don’t care who you get.”
Following last weekend’s 1-0 fourth round victory over old foes, Dergview at the Riverside, Institute must wait until December 29th for their next competitive fixture when they take on Limavady United at Rathmor Road, therefore Kee is hoping to keep his players active with a number of friendly fixtures.
“We have a game pencilled in for Friday night (tonight) against Championships Two side, Sport and Leisure Swifts and then we’ll get them back to training next week and get a game against an Ulster Senior League side or a Championship Two team to keep them ticking over,” he concluded.