Larne skipper Paul Maguire is hoping home advantage and a bumper crowd for Saturday’s Irish Cup tie against derby rivals Carrick Rangers can be enough for the Invermen to book their place in the last 16 of the competition.
It has been an eye-catching season for Larne to date and David McAlinden’s men currently sit third in the table, four points off the top after Saturday’s 3-0 win away to Dundela.
On Saturday attention turns to the biggest cup competition in the country and Maguire is calling on fans to turn out in their numbers.
“As soon we got into the showers after Saturday’s game everyone was looking forward to the Irish Cup match,” he said.
“Carrick haven’t played since the Steel and Sons final so maybe they’ll have a bit of rustiness but we just have to look after our own game.
“Having the game at Inver Park is great and hopefully the fans will get behind us and really give us that advantage.
“It’s a game a lot of people are looking forward to so hopefully we’ll get a good support there on the day.
“People were talking about wanting to land a a big club for this round but I’d rather have someone like Carrick and make it through.
“In the Irish League everyone is beating everyone else so you’d fancy yourself if we can make it to the next round.”
Maguire paid tribute to his strike partner James McCabe after Saturday’s win at Wilgar Park.
McCabe replaced the suspended Ciaran Murray as Maguire netted twice from the penalty spot, either side of half-time.
His first came on 24 minutes and the lead was doubled just four minutes later when Stuart McMullan converted from close range.
Maguire wrapped up the points in the closing stages of the game, again from the penalty spot, when he was fouled inside the box for the second time
“The first match after Christmas is always a leveller, no matter who you are playing against,” Maguire said.
“I thought we won the battle early on and then played some good stuff in the second half and everyone had a good game.
“Ciaran Murray is always going to be a big miss but James McCabe came in and worked really well.
“His work rate was superb and on the ball he helped to create a lot.”