Andrew Waterworth programme article

Posted : 13th March 2018

Linfield’s star striker Andrew Waterworth has confessed to being frustrated with his own form since returning from a two-month injury lay-off in October, although he is hopeful that he is ready to hit top form, after feeling good during last week’s victory over Ards.

“If I am being totally honest, I have struggled since my injury. It's probably been the worst injury I’ve had in my career. It’s been a very tough season for me but I hope last week will be the turning point for me, as it was the best I have felt this season. Thankfully, we have the best physios. The thing I love about this Club is how well you’re looked after. I got injured on the Thursday at Celtic Park and by the Monday I had been scanned. You wouldn’t get that anywhere other than Linfield. We also run a tight ship which is good.

I like to do my talking on the pitch. I know I am not playing well and I know the team hasn’t always performed well. We just have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, make no excuses, and take the criticism.“

Waterworth praised the January signings who have come in and given the squad a boost, with Joe Crowe, Kurtis Byrne and Achille Campion contributing to recent morale-boosting victories and he hopes they can help the Blues end the season on a high, with just over two months remaining.

“It’s hard to put a finger on our problems this season. Seeing others chasing us for our title is probably one aspect but we have lost key players at important stages. Maybe players can look at themselves too, for possibly being complacent at times. There have been games where we haven't been grinding out results the way we did last season. We can only look to the future, however and we want to end the season well, before building on it next season.”

“The guys who have come in have gelled in really well. First and foremost they are great lads. They came in at a tough time and with no real fitness, as it was effectively their pre-season but now they’re showing their quality. With Joe Crowe being just 19, he can have a bright future. He's been great for us.”

Waterworth was the hero last year as he became the first man to bag an Irish Cup final hat-trick since 1969, as the Blues defeated Coleraine 3-0 in front of more that 10 thousand spectators. Needless to say, this was one of Andy’s career highlights and he’s hungry to do it all over again.

“This is potentially a season-defining affair for both teams, as the Irish Cup is the only real silverware left for both ourselves and Cliftonville. It will be very tough and a winner-takes-all game. I couldn’t have written the script better last year. I had been here four years but I was frustrated I hadn’t won more which gave me a few sleepless nights. To end last season with hat-tricks to win the league at Solitude and then again a week later, to win the Irish Cup final was just brilliant.”

The 31 year-old finished by urging the Linfield fans to get behind the team in this vitally important Cup Quarter-Final, acknowledging the impact their support can make.

“I remember up at Solitude last year in particular how the fans really spurred us on, singing songs like ‘We will follow Linfield’ when we were behind and we want something similar for this game. We need to ensure we don’t lose the crowd early, so they back us throughout as it’s always hard against Cliftonville. Hopefully, we can do our part too and send the fans home happy.”

The Linfield supporters will wish Andy and his teammates every success for today and indeed the remainder of the season, as they aim to put Linfield’s name on the prestigious Irish Cup trophy for a 44thtime.
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