Preview of Wednesday night's cup tie

Posted : 13th November 2017 at 09:02:25

Linfield and Crusaders FC. go head to head at Seaview on Wednesday night in the quarter-final stage of the NIFL League Cup (7.45pm ko, all-ticket). The teams have already met twice in the Premiership this season, with Linfield losing both home (2-5) and away (1-2).

Linfield's recent run of impressive league results at the Ballymena Showgrounds came to an abrupt halt with defeat in Friday night's (1-2) clash with the Sky Blues. This fifth Premiership loss of the season followed an all too familiar scenario in defeat for Linfield who failed to convert several decent chances at key points in the game. Linfield's inabilty to "put games to bed", whilst enjoying good spells of possession and dominance, was to once again prove costly as Ballymena scored two well struck quick fire goals. The Blues have now slipped down into fifth place in the table eleven points off the pace. David will need to quickly rebuild confidence within the ranks before the task of retaining the title begins to drift off into 'mission impossible' territory.

Whilst Crusaders have also not enjoyed the best of starts to their own league campaign, they have however remained unbeaten in cup competition. On Saturday they travelled to Tannidice and defeated Scottish Championship side Dundee United (2-1) in the IRN-Bru Challenge Cup. On Wednesday night manager Stephen Baxter will be banking on another big performance to fire the Crues into their third cup semi-final tie of the season. The man threat to the Linfield defence will once again come from strikers Jordan Owens and Paul Heatley as well as winger Gavin Whyte and former Linfield player Billy Joe Burns.

Linfield will be heading to the Shore Road under no illusions as they look to make a quick return to winning ways. This is a difficult game that will demand both dertermination and application from all of the Linfield players. There will certainly be no hiding place for either side under the floodlights at the compact Seaview stadium! COYB!

Ken Garrett.
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