Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 8th December 2018

Today we will face a huge test and challenge against a Crusaders team that will view this game as a great opportunity to draw themselves back into League title contention in what has been a wide open and highly competitive first half of the league season.

We know how tough today’s game is going to be and we have to be ready to meet the challenge against a team packed with talented players and their traditional strong team spirit and work ethic.

We will want to produce a similar high energy display to the ones we produced, both at Seaview in the early part of the season and in our 4-2 win against Cliftonville in our most recent home game. In the Cliftonville game, we turned in an excellent performance that I know impressed our large support on the day but we need to produce that high level of performance on a much more regular and consistent basis.

At Ballymena last Saturday we failed to reach the heights of the week before but I still feel we deserved to come away from the Showgrounds with a point, after a battling effort to try and get the equaliser in the last 20 minutes or so. It was a disappointing result which saw us lose our position at the top of the table but there will be many twists and turns in this title race in the coming weeks and the challenge for us is to win as many games as possible to remain in contention.

Tuesday’s win at Portadown was a below-par display but Jordan Stewart’s late winner sees us through to a huge League Cup semi-final against the cup holders Dungannon on Tuesday but we won’t turn our attention to what will be another important game until the end of today’s vital league game.

It’s been pleasing to see young Lorcan Forde introduced to first team action in the past week after his long spell out due to injury. We need as many players fit and available for this gruelling fixture schedule in the December period. We continue to be without Mark Haughey, Ryan McGivern, Cameron Stewart and Daniel Kearns and I want to pay tribute to our sports therapist Terry Hayes for his work with our long list of injured players in the first half of the season so far.

Josh Robinson will return to the squad after a one match suspension and we will also have Joel Cooper and Andrew Waterworth available today, after they missed the midweek game in Portadown.

I want to congratulate Roy Carroll on his 100th Linfield appearance at Portadown in midweek. He’s a huge influence on and off the pitch for us and his vast experience will be of enormous benefit to us in the second half of our season. Robert Garrett is one game away from his 250th game for the club and everyone knows that you have to be a good player to have made that many appearances for this club.

Niall Quinn has extended his contract at the club for a further three years and I’m delighted with both his loyalty and his versatility. He’s such a consistent player for us and he has thoroughly deserved the award of this contract extension. He continues to be an excellent role model to young boys in our Academy that they can get the opportunity to develop and progress through to our first team squad.

Games against Crusaders are always ones where we need our supporters right behind us from the first minute to the last, so whether you are in the South or Kop Stand today, let’s hear Windsor really roar our players on to the positive result we all want.
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