Football: Rankine relishing Arsenal re-union
Monday 04 January 1999
The midfield dynamo has never faced the might of the Gunners at competitive level, but his experience of taking them on in the FA Youth Cup final was enough. A decade ago Rankine was one of the stars of the Doncaster Rovers team which battled all the way through to the final of the prestige event to play Arsenal.
But their dreams of glory were dashed inside just 45 minutes - and Rankine still shudders at the memory of that nightmare thrashing. He said: "It was a really big night, but we were just overawed by the occasion. I think Kevin Campbell scored four inside half an hour. We just couldn't handle it.
"If we hadn't blown up, we would have done ourselves justice. We lost the home leg 5-0 but drew down there 1-1, so we were no mugs. I just hope our lads at Preston don't freeze like that. We are not afraid - but you can never tell how people will react on the night."
Two Preston hopefuls wanting to make a name for themselves already have something going for them - Michael Jackson and Paul McKenna.
The centre-half Jackson has come up the hard way, not just for living with the gags about his namesake. He had to overcome two major back operations as a child. The midfielder McKenna is the local lad of the side - his parents do the catering at the club's training ground.
Jackson, who started at Crewe before joining Preston, said: "I have not watched Arsenal on TV if I can help it, they would scare me. But every time one of them gets injured I have been cheering."
McKenna is steeped in the history of the club, after signing up as a teenager when bigger clubs were keen on him. He said: "This tie is all everyone wants to talk about."
Latest in Sport
Chelsea players allowed 20 minutes to celebrate, says Jose Mourinho after Capital One Cup victory
Liverpool vs Manchester City match report: Stunners from Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson sink Manuel Pellegrini's side
Diego Costa keeps coin thrown at him during Capital One Cup final
Arsenal 2 Everton 0 player ratings: Who scored highest at the Emirates?
Ireland 19 England 9 player ratings: Jonathan Sexton? Devin Toner? Alex Goode? Who was the star man in Dublin?
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...
£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...