Tummery Athletic will go in to the Irish Junior Cup Final underprepared and understrength according to their manager, Gerry Love.

This Saturday’s final is a month later than originally scheduled after a prolonged player eligibility row, and will come three weeks after Tummery contested their last league game of the season.

That delay has proved troublesome for Love and has left him frustrated and struggling to keep his side’s momentum going.

“In terms of preparation it has been a disaster,” he said.

“It has been very difficult to keep people interested with the not knowing, and all of a sudden now it has popped up over the last couple of days. It has been very difficult. We have continued to have training sessions but attendance has been extremely poor, which was understandable because people didn’t know what they were training for and if it was ever going to happen.

“People have to factor in holidays, people had time away and people have other commitments.

“Obviously, Tummery have a heavy Gaelic commitment as well, so I won’t have a full squad. I don’t have the people I would like to put out, but obviously I will have to put out a team. I’m obliged to do that and we will be putting out a team on the day. At this moment in time it is not confirmed who we will have and I’m not going to know right up until maybe as late as possibly Friday.”

The location of the final has also been shifted, with the National Stadium showpiece game switched to Ferney Park in Ballinamallard due to maintenance work at Windsor Park.

The move has denied the players the opportunity to play at the province’s largest stadium, which has been a further source of frustration for Love and the players.

“I think that has been the most disappointing aspect of the whole thing,” he said.

“This could be a once in a lifetime thing for some people, and the same for Rangers, and it was a great opportunity to play up at Windsor Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

“That was what we were geared up for from early April, but it hasn’t materialised, which is obviously disappointing. That is not to take anything away from Ferney Park, but I have been down there on many, many occasions.

“It is a super surface, exceptional, but the whole idea of the Junior Cup was to play at the National Stadium and that has not materialised.”

The two teams played out a 2-2 draw in their last meeting a month ago, and although Love was happy with how his side performed against the league champions, he still believes Rangers will go into the Cup Final as clear favourites against Tummery side who are contesting their first ever Junior Cup final.

“We played well against them the last time we met, but Rangers will go into the game as firm favourites, simply because they are league champions for the second year in a row, and for two years in a row they have been the Irish Junior Cup holders,” said Gerry.

“It will be a formidable task for Tummery, and Rangers are under no pressure at all because they are going into a match they didn’t expect to be playing. They were beaten in the semi-final stages and they now find themselves in a final when a lot of people are saying they shouldn’t be there.

“Playing against a team of such stature, it is going to be a formidable task, but you should never go into a game thinking that you don’t have a chance, and you always have to think of the positives.

“Of course, on the day if we can reproduce the performance that we delivered against Willowbank, then it will give us a chance.”

The manager has called on the Tummery fans to turn out in numbers, but he is concerned that the circumstances surrounding the final may have an impact on the turnout.

“I don’t think the hype exists at the moment in the same way it did when it was to be Windsor Park,” he said.

“It’s a 12 noon kick off as well, and people have other commitments. I don’t know what the crowd will be like but I hope there is a big turnout from Tummery, and they can give the boys the support they deserve.”