Cliftonville aiming to make League Cup history against Ards

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Cliftonville will face Ards in the final at Solitude
JBE League Cup final: Cliftonville v Ards
Date: Saturday, 13 February Venue: Solitude Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Ulster FM and the BBC Sport website; Highlights on BBC Sport website

Cliftonville will aim for a record-breaking fourth successive League Cup success when they face Ards in Saturday's final at Solitude.

The decider will be Gerard Lyttle's first as manager of the north Belfast club, having previously been a coach under former Reds boss Tommy Breslin.

Lyttle will be without Daniel Hughes and Darren Murray, who are cup-tied.

Championship One leaders Ards beat Ballinamallard United and Coleraine on penalties to reach the showpiece final.

Niall Currie's side saw off the Mallards 7-6 in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals and then recovered from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw with Coleraine at the last four stage, ultimately prevailing 5-3 on spot-kicks.

Danny McKee scored both goals for the north Down club in their semi-final and, also netted the decisive penalty, but has returned to his club Glentoran, following the conclusion of his loan spell.

Record is 'massive incentive' - Lyttle

Cliftonville boss Lyttle admits the chance for his club to make history provides "a massive incentive" for his players.

"To be going for a record like that is something special and I expect it to be a great occasion in front of a full house," said Lyttle.

"We would probably have preferred it to be at a neutral venue like the National Stadium and we are probably as disappointed as Ards in that respect.

"To be playing the final at Solitude is good in a sense but there is probably a bit more pressure on us to perform because the game is at our home ground."

Ards start as underdogs

Currie concedes that his side go into the match as "massive underdogs" but adds that "anything can happen in a one-off game" on a 3G surface which the club are familiar with through playing their home league fixtures at Bangor's Clandeboye Park.

"If we work hard, go out and play with freedom and express ourselves, you never know what can happen," stated Currie.

"What we have achieved in reaching the final is wonderful but nobody really gives us a chance so we we will just go out and enjoy the game. All the pressure is on them and we have nothing to lose.

"We know how good they are but if we get them on a poor night and we are at our best, then we may have a chance.

"There are not many Premiership teams who beat Cliftonville on their own patch, so it will be even more difficult for a Championship club to do it but we'll give it a real go."

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