Enniskillen Rangers player manager Michael Kerr will be looking to lead his side to an historic fourth successive Irish Junior Cup title when they take on Belfast Amateur League side Willowbank in the final at Shamrock Park on Tuesday night.

However, Kerr is expecting a huge battle against the side he describes as the toughest they faced in the competition over the last four year.

“Willowbank were the best side we have played in the Junior Cup over the last four years and I have always said that from the day we played them.

“I know we beat them 3-1 that day but Jerome saved a penalty at 1-1 and he had another fantastic save at 2-1. We got the goals at the right time that day.

“They are a really, really good footballing side, physically they are strong and they try maybe to bully teams but in terms of football they are excellent.

“They have played together for the guts of four or five years with a couple of younger lads from their youth section coming through who are very good. They have also had a consistent 11, if you look back at their team it is nearly the same every single week so these lads know each other inside out,” said Kerr.

And he knows what winning a Junior Cup would mean to their opponents.

“I would know their captain Eamon Hughes, I’ve chatted him a few times and he has always made no bones about the fact that they really want to win the Junior Cup. So, they will be really going for it and they have the quality,” he added.

Indeed, Kerr believes that Tuesday night’s battle will be between the two best Junior sides in the country.

“In my opinion it is the best two teams in Junior football playing in the final so it should be a fantastic game. I’m expecting it to be a really competitive final and I’m just hoping that we can put in a good performance,” he said.

To be back in a fourth final in a row is a wonderful achievement in itself for Kerr and his players but he stresses that their goal is to bring the cup back to Enniskillen again.

“It’s an amazing achievement, to be in four Junior Cup finals in a row is unbelievable and we are over in the moon to be in another one.

“However, we don’t just want to be in the final, I said at the start of the year that we wanted to to be the first club to win the Junior Cup for a fourth time in a row and now we are in the final we have given ourselves a chance to do that.”

There was little time to sit back and admire their 5-1 semi-final victory over Bessbrook United on Monday night for the ‘Gers with the squad back training on Tuesday night.

“We will maximise this week. We are training tonight (Tuesday), Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to get as much as we can into the body and into the mind as well. We will be working a few things,” he said.

A strong finish on Monday night showed that fitness levels aren’t a problem for the ‘Gers and it is something that has impressed Kerr.

“The fitness levels have been impressive. The boys were looking after themselves during lockdown and they are fit lads anyway. When we came back we went at it quite hard and intense for three weeks but in saying that there was never a session where there wasn’t a ball at their feet. That has upped the levels again and we are flying to be honest,” he explained.

And now he is looking for another big final performance from his charges.

“Everybody just needs to make sure that they are focused and know their job and if we can put in the performance we are capable of then I would be very confident. I said it before the Bessbrook game and I’ll say it before this one, if we can put in a performance we will be very hard to beat.

“In a cup you only get the once chance so you have to make sure that your performance is as close to perfect as possible. I’m hoping that we can put in a perfect performance next Tuesday night,” he stated.

He also believes that it is going to be a squad game with those coming in off the bench having a big role to play next Tuesday night.

“The bench is going to play a massive part next week as well, it is not going to be about the 11 players who start, it will be about the subs as well. They will have a massive influence on the game because the last 20 minutes is as important as the first 20.”

He is also hopeful that the ‘Gers experience of the cup final in recent years will stand to them.

“We’ve obviously been there and done that, there is a number of us who are going into our fourth final and I think it is only Gareth Barbour, Jake Browne and Nathan Khan who have never been to the final before and I’m hoping that experience will stand to us when we go up to Shamrock Park next Tuesday night.”