Manager programme notes

Posted : 18th March 2017

Today we will welcome an Ards team that will come here full of confidence after some recent positive results, including their home win last weekend against Ballinamallard United.

We know they will provide us with a tough challenge today as they, like other teams coming here, will be boosted by playing in such impressive surroundings.

However, we are on a good run of form after consecutive victories against our cross city rivals in Glentoran, Crusaders and Cliftonville. It's important we maintain that consistency and build on those very pleasing results, before we go into the split after today's game with Ards and next week's game away to Ballinamallard.

On Monday night I thought we were deserved winners in the Sky TV game here against Cliftonville. They had beaten us twice previously in the league this season but I was delighted with our tempo, as well as our all-round play. Paul Smyth caused problems for the visiting defence with his speed and trickery and I also thought our midfield duo of Stephen Lowry and Jamie Mulgrew turned in very assured and commanding performances.

Clawing back the league leaders seven points advantage is unfortunately outside our control, so all we can do is try and win each game that comes our way and be in a position to take advantage of any slip. We will concentrate on and look no further than the next game and the league table will take care of itself. We know we have big games ahead but the focus is very much on today's vital three points on offer against an in-form Ards team.

Congratulations to Roy Carroll on his call-up to the international team for their upcoming Windsor Park game against Norway and I want to wish Andy Kerr an enjoyable evening on his special tribute night in Jumna Street after today's game. To have served 50 years in the back room staff of this club is an absolutely fantastic achievement and he, like the other unsung heroes in the back room staff, Kenny McKeague, Terry Hayes, Gary Eccles and others, have contributed so much to the successes of this club over many years.

Best wishes to Linfield Swifts in their Intermediate Cup quarter-final tie away to Donegal Celtic today and similarly, best wishes are extended to Linfield Rangers in their upcoming Youth Cup final against Ballinamallard.

Competition for places in the squad is very healthy at present and we will continue to rely on and appreciate the positive encouragement of our loyal supporters who turned out in such good numbers for the midweek very pleasing victory against Cliftonville.
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