Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley admits he has a selection dilemma ahead of this Sunday’s Scottish Cup showdown with Rangers at Ibrox.
The tie is the biggest game in the Aberdeen club’s history but the Sunday evening kick-off gives Cove little time to recover before a crucial League One clash against Clyde on Tuesday.
Cove sit second in League One and only four points behind leaders Falkirk and Hartley admits he will need to think long and hard about who he chooses to face Steven Gerrard’s side at the weekend.
He said: “It is really difficult for the players having had that 10 week lay-off.
“I have to try and pick the right team and some boys that would probably start will be on the bench and may not be used.
“I have to think who can I play on Tuesday night?
“We won’t get back until very late on Sunday night and lads are up for their work Monday and have to leave early on Tuesday to go to Clyde.
“It is about trying to pick a team that will compete but will also have one eye on Tuesday, which is the most important thing for us.
“Any other normal time, you can really focus on this game.
“The players are looking forward to it but as a manager it is more of a challenge.
“We played on Tuesday and have had to change our training to Friday but we won’t do very much.
“We will pick a game plan and a team to compete on Sunday but I also have to keep another team in my head for Tuesday night because we are going to use up so much energy against a Rangers team that is flying high.
“Most of our play on Sunday will be out of possession.”
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Despite the hectic schedule, Hartley will still head to Ibrox hoping his side can pull off an unlikely victory against the best team in Scotland this season.
He said: “We can always dream but everything has to go your way.
“You need to have real luck, take your opportunities, defend well and have everybody on their A game.
“In cup football, who knows what can happen?
“But, I am more concerned about going there, being really organised and making it difficult for Rangers.
“Let the players go with a little bit of freedom if they can.
“Quite a few of them have never played there before and the disappointment for the players is that there will be no fans there.
“Also financially for the club, what we would have made out of the game in any other circumstances if we had got fans back in.
“It would have been a lot of money and we are having to spend a lot of money with the protocols and testing once a week.”
Rangers have won all 16 of their home matches on the way to the Premiership crown this season, emphasising the size of the task ahead of Hartley’s men.
The Cove manager said: “They are undefeated in the league and it is a big challenge to the players and me as a manager.
‘I will come up to Steven Gerrard for the first time and they have taken two or three years to get to where they are just now.
“You can see the way they play and everybody can see how they play.
“He said after the league was wrapped up that he was going for the Scottish Cup.
“We will be up against it on Sunday, there is no doubt about that.
“We just have to go there and give it our best shot and be pretty organised.
“We have some good players here and we play in a certain style.
“When we get a hold of the ball we need to try and be positive with it.”