Gers are on red alert

Carrick boss Michael Hughes doesn’t know what sort of team Irish League champions Cliftonville will field against his side on this afternoon (Saturday), but he says that it won’t be the initial acid test for his new charges. That will come on Tuesday night against Warrenpoint Town.

Carrick Rangers boss Michael Hughes
Carrick Rangers boss Michael Hughes
Carrick Rangers boss Michael Hughes

“It’s great to have a game against the club which won the Premier League last season, but they have massive matches against Celtic in the Champions League qualifiers either side of hosting us – so much will depend on the situation after the first leg as to who lines out for them,” explained Hughes.

“If I had to second guess the manager, I believe Tommy Breslin would be concentrating mostly on using players from the reserve and youth teams against us at Solitude on Saturday. But that remains to be seen.

“I don’t mind what sort of team he fields, it will still be a very useful exercise for us and a decent contest and I am certainly looking forward the match against The Reds.

“However, we play Warrenpoint on Tuesday night and I think that will be much more of test in terms of telling us just where we are the moment. They were promoted from our division and it will be interesting to see how we perform against them.

“I think the players we have brought in are of a very high standard and believe we have a quality squad and this match in particular will be a very good yardstick for Carrick Rangers right now,” explained Hughes.

Carrick played out a 1-1 draw with Larne Tech Old Boys on Tuesday evening. Included was latest recruit, Abby Sanusi - a player Hughes believes will have a great future in the sport at a higher level.

Aged 21, Sanusi was one of the players Hughes referred to last week when he mentioned on this page that two or three other players were on trial with the club.

“I saw him at training and immediately decided I wanted to sign the player. The plan was to play him for half an hour or 40 minutes against Rosario on the Tuesday night, but that game was called off and he came down to training and we agreed terms and the deal was done there and then.

“Formerly with Shamrock Rovers, Abby went to America on a scholarship but was homesick and came back and played for one or two junior clubs around Dublin. He was highly recommended to me by someone down there and I believe he possess potential star quality.

“He’s a big, strong powerful lad with good skills. He’s still a bit raw and we can work certain aspects of his play which need attention, but I am sure he can play successfully at a higher level. He feels his best position is in behind the striker, but I feel he has the ability to play centre-back, centre-midfield or even up front. He’s versatile.

“Apart from needing a good, quality goalkeeper to push Simon Steele (inset) for his place, that’s the signings done. Simon did very well last season and will start as the number one, so it isn’t easy to attract a goalkeeper who is prepared to start as number two and push the regular guy for the jersey, but we are trying to dop just that,” added the manager.

Current Carrick player Correy Davidson and former player Jonny Addis featured in the Ireland side which suffered heartbreak when they were lost on penalties to France at the quarter-final stage of the World Student Games in Russia. Danny Crowley’s side lost 4-3 on penalties after the game had finished scoreless.

Incidentally, it’s been revealed that Addis had actually made up his mind to sign on against for Carrick, only for a telephone call from Glentoran to change the picture.

The Glens, who had contacted manager Michael Hughes for permission to speak to the player, asked him to go to open trials, liked what they saw and invited hime to sign.