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
Diego Costa injury: Chelsea striker a doubt for Everton match after suffering muscle injury
Mario Balotelli posts hilarious Beatles picture on Instagram as he awaits Liverpool debut
Arsenal vs Besiktas player ratings: Alexis Sanchez? Jack Wilshere? Mesut Ozil? Who was the star man at the Emirates Stadium?
Champions League draw: Liverpool meet Real Madrid, but should they fear facing the reigning champions?
William Carvalho to Manchester United: Midfielder on the cards for Louis van Gaal after Arturo Vidal doubts grow
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + 5 weeks holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: Head o...
£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Manager - Near...