Glebe Rangers will spend the next few weeks daring to dream of a glory day at Windsor Park on January 6 in the Tennent’s Irish Cup fifth-round glamour date with holders Linfield.
Yesterday’s draw at the National Stadium handed Glebe a spot in the national spotlight with a clash for the Ballymena and Provincial Intermediate outfit against the most successful side in the 136-year history of the high-profile knockout tournament.
The difference in divisions between top-flight Linfield and Glebe is dwarfed by the gap in resources and rich history.
However, Glebe manager Jason Wilmont is relishing the opportunity to share the stage next month with David Healy and a group of Linfield players whose last Irish Cup experience ended with lifting aloft the trophy in May.
”It’s just fantastic to be honest, we wanted either Linfield or Coleraine so it could not have gone any better,” said Wilmont. “It is about enjoying the occasion.
“We are unbeaten in the league, although a few games behind due to our cup progress.
“It is brilliant for the whole club, we can all enjoy our Christmas - although not too much for the players.
“It is a boost for those people working in the background day in, day out keeping the club going with working on sponsorship and everything.
“We will come and try our best, it is going to be a massive challenge but we will come with the right approach.
“I cannot wait, it is going to be a massive day for the club.”
Healy accepts the added pressure of expectation when facing a side outside the domestic game’s senior league ladder but considers it simply another challenge in charge of Linfield.
“Like all the teams, first and foremost, they have earned the right to be at the same stage of the competition as us so, as always, will be treated with the utmost respect,” said Healy. “They are unbeaten in their league so obviously doing something right.
“It is at Windsor Park so they will be coming aiming to cause an upset but we must be ready for that.
“We will have Glebe watched and when they get here we hope, without any disrespect, to be in the next round.
“We are out of the League Cup and people sometimes think it is a show of arrogance from David Healy or Linfield but we always talk about the demands of this club so it is a must to win.
“It is not pressure but the demands are there from the club and supporters, plus those which I put on myself.
“The Irish Cup final is the one day everyone talks about.
“Having been on the end of cup final disappointment two seasons ago it was certainly a much better feeling last year.”
Tennent’s Irish Cup fifth-round draw: Ards v Crumlin Star, Ballinamallard United v Immaculata, Ballymena United v Moyola Park, Carrick Rangers v Glenavon, Cliftonville v Warrenpoint Town, Coleraine v Lisburn Distillery, Crusaders v Maiden City, Dungannon Swifts v Limavady United, Knockbreda v Institute, Larne v Dergview, Linfield v Glebe Rangers, Loughgall v PSNI, Lurgan Celtic v Glentoran, Newry City AFC v H&W Welders, Portadown v Ballyclare Comrades, Queen’s University v Dundela.