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O'Kane's Kop hope


Ireland U21 manager Noel King. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sports

Ireland U21 manager Noel King. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sports

Ireland's Eunan O'Kane. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

Ireland's Eunan O'Kane. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile


Ireland U21 manager Noel King. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sports

IRELAND U21 cap Eunan O'Kane is hoping his Bournemouth side can earn a dream meeting with his boyhood heroes Liverpool in the FA Cup – if they can get past lower-league side Burton Albion tonight.

O'Kane, who was born in Derry but opted to play for the Republic after a spell with Northern Ireland's youth side and won five U21 caps, has impressed in the Championship for the Cherries this season, but his side face a possible upset tonight against a Burton side who are second in the League Two table.

There is a big reward on offer for the winners of the tie as they will face Liverpool in the fourth round, a real chance for the 23-year-old to catch the eye.

"It's an important game and there is quite a big carrot at the end of the game if we can win," he said.

"It would be a huge occasion if we could get through, it will be brilliant to play Liverpool and test ourselves against some of the best players in the country.

"Before the draw they are who I would have picked, the only thing I would have changed is to make it away. Hopefully we can get the job done and we can look forward to it closer to the time. I'm a Liverpool fan, although I would take the opportunity, it's not something I've dreamt about, knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup," added the attacking midfielder.

But he is wary of being on the wrong end of a cup upset, as he was part of a Torquay United side who would have played Manchester United in the FA Cup if they had got past Crawley, only for Crawley – then a non-league side – to win out.

"It was not a nice experience, that day still sends a few shivers down my spine. It's something I never want to experience again," said O'Kane, who made his Ireland U21 debut against Denmark in 2012, and has remained on the radar of the FAI as he was part of the provisional 40-man panel named by senior team caretaker manager Noel King (below) for the October double-header against Germany and the Faroe Islands.

"We were expected to win and to then see them play at Old Trafford was hard to take. It's a position I don't want to be in again and I'll be doing everything I can.

"Burton are a good side and are flying in League Two and we know what can form can do.

"We experienced that at Wigan last season. They will come here with that same mentality and won't fear us. It'll be a good test of our professionalism."