Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 16th March 2019

Today we will welcome Institute to Windsor Park for what is sure to be a formidable challenge and one we will have to be on very top form in, if we are to secure the vital three points that we need, to maintain our current pleasing advantage in the league table.

Institute will come here with nothing to fear and full of belief that they can achieve a positive result. They’ve achieved a lot in their first season back in the top flight and they deserve enormous credit for securing their top flight status in a challenging season in which they’ve had to cope without their Drumahoe stadium and having to adapt to a temporary home at the Brandywell.

After a pleasing unbeaten run of league games dating back to December 1 in Ballymena, it was disappointing to lose last week’s game away to Glenavon. It was one of those nights when we didn’t take our chances and we came up against a goalkeeper in top form. The response to the defeat in training and in the midweek Shield Final has been very positive and certainly, the players are determined to get back to winning ways and soon.

I can not fault the players for their efforts in the Shield Final at Seaview on Tuesday. On the night the result was determined largely by the atrocious weather conditions and while it would have been great to hold on to our 3-2 lead in the closing stages, unfortunately it wasn’t to be, as the home team grabbed two late goals to lift the trophy.

It means our sole focus is now the remaining seven league games and we will approach them all on a one game at a time basis and try and secure as many points as we possibly can.

We will welcome Jamie Mulgrew back to the squad today, following a one game suspension but Kirk Millar will miss today’s game due to suspension.

On the injury front, we will be missing Joel Cooper and Stephen Fallon for at least another week. Mark Haughey remains unavailable and Roy Carroll recently underwent surgery and we of course wish him well on the long road to recovery.

Congratulations to Josh Robinson who was named February Player of the month by the Football writers’ association. I would also like to offer congratulations to the Linfield Rangers team who’ve qualified for another Youth Cup final, after their recent semi-final success against Coleraine Under 18s.

Our supporters were at Seaview in large numbers in horrendous weather conditions on Tuesday and I want you all to know how much that loyalty is appreciated. Today is the first of what are effectively seven cup finals for everyone at the club and we really will rely on and need the support of the united Linfield family to help us get the success we want in what is sure to be the first of those tough ‘cup finals’ today.
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