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
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Uefa lift FFP restrictions to leave City primed for £100m moves for Paul Pogba and Liverpool midfielder
Sky Sports and BT Sport announce Premier League live matches for 2015/16 with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in action
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...