Linfield Ladies FC manager Ryan McConville spoke to Linfieldfc.com after training at Olympia Leisure centre, ahead of a gruelling 4 games in 8 days period.
"We're approaching a very tough and demanding 8 day period. On Wednesday we will play at home to a physical and very strong Ballymena team in a league game. Then, we move on to Friday night when we are at home in a League Cup quarter-final tie against another strong physical side in Shankill Utd Predators. On the Monday night we are away to St. Matthews in the quarter-final of the County Antrim Women's FA Cup. Then we finish a very difficult 8 day period with a very tough league game away to Cliftonville on Wednesday week.
It will be a period where we will face 2 tough demanding league games and 2 very tricky cup ties and of course, this period will make great demands on the full squad. We did well in cup competitions last year and of course, we want to win every game we play in but for now, my only focus is the first of those 4 games which is Ballymena on Wednesday night. Once that game is out of the way and only then, we'll turn our thoughts to the next game in this tough sequence.
We were all hugely disappointed with the news that Emma McAleese broke her foot in a recent league game. It speaks volumes about her character and integrity that she's been at every game and every training session since then. She's encouraging and motivating all the players all the time and she's always giving them advice, in terms of what it takes to be a Linfield player. It's a real blow her being out injured, as she would have played a major part in our season. Not only is she a major influence on the pitch for us but she's a massive role model and inspiration off the pitch as well, as she has showed here at training today.
Her team mates showed how highly they thought of her by making a presentation to her after our game down in Cookstown on Wednesday past. This is a magnificent club where the highest standards are set. We have a great culture of togetherness, camaraderie and strong team spirit among the entire squad. All our players are very close and they all think the world of Emma and they have all rallied round to support and encourage her through what has been a painful time for her. However, she's been so positive in the wake of what has been a frustrating setback for her."