DAVID Harvey says the SuperCupNI presents his County Tyrone Premier players with a massive test and a massive opportunity.
His under-17 team has been placed in the group of death along with last year’s winners, Right To Dream from Ghana, last year’s beaten finalists, Club America from Mexico and Scottish Academy outfit Partick Thistle.
It’s a daunting challenge in anyone’s book but it’s one he believes his players will relish and embrace.
“We couldn’t have got a much tougher draw,” he admitted.
“But we have nothing to lose and nothing to fear. As a player you want to play against the best players and as a coach you want to test yourself against the best coaches.
“It’s going be a big test but at the same time its a big opportunity.
“To be honest I have been really impressed with this group of players and I know what they are capable of.
“And at the end of the day it’s all about the players. Big games present big opportunities for players to shine and that’s what the committee, coaches and so on are working hard for. It’s for them.”
This year Harvey is again assisted by coach Matthew Newell but he has freshened things up with a new backroom team that includes coach Gary Wilkinson, Tim Gallagher (strength and conditioning) and goalkeeping coach Jamie Courtney.
The Red Hand boys launch their campaign against Club America at the Coleraine Showgrounds on Monday at 2pm before taking on the defending champions Right To Dream at Seahaven, Portstewart the following evening at 7pm.
The county’s seniors complete their qualifying games against Thistle at the Ballymena showgrounds on the Wednesday, a game which also kicks off at 7pm.
Dungannon United Youth’s John Scott, making his fourth appearance, captains the team this year while midfielder Ciaran Magee, Coalisland Athletic, is his vice.
George Curran and Fergal McGarrity have also been retained from last year’s panel while six players have graduated from the 2017 Junior squad namely, Fintan Coney, Peter Bell, Ethan McGee, Ben Gallagher, Marito Marcel and Calum McGregor.
In all there are seven players a year young but despite this Harvey is convinced his squad won’t be found wanting when it comes to experience.
“I have no worries on that score,” added the manager.
“They are all well capable and the more some of them are on the young side it’s an exciting squad.
‘I think were better drilled this time. Of course, you would always love more time preparing the lads but it is what it is.
“The build up worked a lot better this year and the commitment was certainly better. In the early stages we clashed with Gaelic training but across the board we had 90% attendance at our training sessions, so that was fantastic.
“Everybody has been very helpful including those making venues available. All the preparation is done and now it’s all systems go for next week. We’ll know then what kind of shape we’re in.”
Posted: 2:40 pm July 20, 2018