Bell: Sky Blues will provide another tough test for Reds

Ballyclare assistant-manager Gary Bell (left) with boss, Eddie Hill.
Ballyclare assistant-manager Gary Bell (left) with boss, Eddie Hill.

Ballyclare Comrades’ reward for conquering Linfield in the Wasp Solutions League Cup is a trip to The Showgrounds to take on Ballymena United.

It’s yet another tricky tie for the Dixon Park outfit and assistant-manager Gary Bell says he and boss Eddie Hill will be ramming home the message that the Reds players will have to go and prove themselves all over again.

“It’s not going to be an easy match for us - definitely not,” said Bell. “Spike (Glenn Ferguson) seems to have them well gelled together this year. They have hit a bit of form.

“It’s a derby and we have to take that into account too. The Showgrounds isn’t an easy place to go and get a result but it’s a cup game and anything goes. We found that out in the last round against Linfield.

“Hopefully we will give a good account of ourselves and come away with the same result we came away with against the Blues.”

Bell concedes Ballyclare may have been geed up when they caught sight of the Linfield team sheet in last round and insists that whatever side Ferguson opts to select they will be ready.

“From our perspective it doesn’t matter who we’re up against from a tactical point of view,” he added. “It’s eleven versus eleven and we have been telling the boys just that.

“They need to go out and prove themselves and show they are good enough to compete. We will be saying the same to them against Ballymena United, regardless of what kind of a team Glenn Ferguson plays.”

Spearheading Ballyclare’s bid to produce another upset is star striker Chris Trussell who scored the vital goal against Warren Feeney’s men. He’s a player Bell says is beginning to provide glimpses of the free-scoring form he was in last year when his electric pace and and crisp finishing struck fear into opposition defenders.

“It was nice to see him get on the scoresheet against Linfield although he had scored twice against Loughgall the Saturday before,” said Bell. “People were sort of starting to put a bit of pressure on him because he hadn’t hit the net in three games. It’s nice to see that he’s picking up from where he left off last season and that he’s starting to find the back of the net again.”