Patterson plotting Windsor upset

Glens midfielder Stephen McAlorum celebrates the semi-final win over Portadown with manager Eddie Patterson

MARIE CURIE IRISH CUP FINAL: CLIFTONVILLE v GLENTORAN

Venue:
Windsor Park
Date:
Saturday, 4 May
Kick-off:
14:30 BST
Coverage:
Live on BBC2 NI and Radio Ulster. Updates on the BBC Sport website

Manager of cash-strapped underdogs aims to deny former club a magnificent treble in the biggest game of the season.

Yes, Saturday's Irish Cup final is shaping up nicely as the once mighty Glentoran take on Premiership champions Cliftonville, the newly crowned kings of Irish League football.

Glens boss Eddie Patterson, who was sacked by the Reds two years ago, must devise a plan to thwart a team which finds the net with such ease and regularity.

Reaching the decider is a timely boost for Patterson's young side amid the all-pervading financial turmoil at the Oval.

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Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson is upbeat ahead of Saturday's Irish Cup final against Cliftonville.

The Glens finished a creditable fourth in the league and now an unlikely Irish Cup success is just 90 minutes away.

"Glentoran going into a cup final as underdogs - it's unheard of," said Patterson.

"But Cliftonville are rightly favourites being league champions, League Cup winners and the team on form.

"It's my first full season here and the coaching staff, myself and the players have given their all.

"Since I arrived we have tried to instill in the squad a football philosophy, the way I want the game to be played.

"I think we deserve to be in the final considering the way we have applied ourselves this season."

Patterson revitalised the Reds during his six years at the helm, winning the Co Antrim Shield twice and reaching the Irish Cup final in 2009.

Securing silverware for the first time as Glens manager will be made easier if Andy Waterworth is on top form at Windsor Park.

The striker has hit the net 23 times this campaign but the next best is midfielder Richard Clarke on nine.

Andy Waterworth has been a potent spearhead for Glentoran this season
Andy Waterworth has been a potent spearhead for Glentoran this season

In contrast Cliftonville have four players in double figures, with forward pair Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley sharing 65 goals.

"Andy causes problems for opponents because of his pace and he has been our talisman this season in terms of scoring," added Patterson.

"You look at the Cliftonville team, they are getting goals from various players - Boyce, Gormley, Garrett, George McMullan and Caldwell.

"From that point of view, we have been a bit dependent on Andy this season.

"We're getting there, we are still a work in progress and we believe a few additions to the squad would be a step in the right direction."

Patterson, a boyhood Reds fan, denies that his first-hand knowledge of Cliftonville players gives him an edge for Saturday's showdown.

The teams have met four times this season, with two draws and a win apiece, although Glentoran's 3-0 victory earlier this month came against understrength opposition.

Colin Nixon provides another subplot, with the Glens captain on course to make his 794th and last appearance for the east Belfast side.

Nixon came off the bench to score a last-gasp equaliser against Coleraine in his final league game for the club on Saturday.

"I don't think there is an advantage because I know quite a few of their players," said Patterson.

"What happens on the day happens - if Cliftonville do the treble that's well and good.

"But we will be doing our upmost in trying to bring the Irish Cup back to the Oval.

"You couldn't have written what happened on Saturday. Getting beat with a couple of minutes to go, Colin pops up to start the move and score the goal.

"It will be his last game - can the script be written that way again?"

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