Jordan Stewart programme article

Posted : 15th April 2022

Linfield star Jordan Stewart says the mood in the camp is positive as the Blues come into tonight’s blockbuster ‘Big Two’ derby, a point ahead of Cliftonville at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table, following last week’s goalless draw against the Reds at Solitude.

“The mood was positive after Solitude last week. We went there and didn’t want to be beaten. I would say for the majority of the game we were probably the better team. Both teams had a few good chances and a draw might be fair enough. There’s four matches left and if either team had nicked it last week, the league wouldn’t have been won anyway.

“The mentality is to try and win every game, so we were going to Solitude to try and win, first and foremost. We were a bit disappointed not to take all three points, but if you’re being sensible, when you go to a place like Cliftonville - a team who are flying and with just four games to go – a point is positive. As the game went on, we grabbed more control of it, made a few subs and started to create a bit more and it felt like a winner was coming, but it just wasn’t to be.”

The Linfield squad has been stretched at times this season for various reasons but David Healy has navigated his way through the challenges expertly and Stewart assures ‘Look at Linfield’ that the squad is well primed for one last push towards the title.

“As a team we are always confident. We have got good players, as do other teams in the league, so if you weren’t confident, you would lose the battle in your own head. You have to go into every game confident and yes, it has boosted us to have the likes of Conor Pepper and Matthew Clarke return last week. It gives us more options.”

Stewart – who very recently celebrated his 27th Birthday – is another player who has recently returned to the squad following unavailability and now he feels hopeful that he can make an impact in the final four league matches of the season.

“I think my performance level has been very high for the past two or three months. I feel fitter than I have ever been and I feel like I am in a good position to affect games and play well, but the manager picks the team and you accept his decisions, as he has so many top players in the squad to try and fit into the starting eleven. I don’t mind what position I play in for the team. I have had injury problems at times and I have had Covid twice, along with certain other illnesses, but that’s part and parcel of football, although it has been an up and down season for me in that regard. I could maybe have chipped in with more goals or assists this season but I am happy with my overall performances this season. I do think goals and assists will come but I am more focused on winning matches and trying to get a spot in the team.”

“It’s a bit of a free one now for Glentoran after their result last week. They will come with a point to prove and coming off the back of that defeat, I am sure they’ll want a reaction. You don’t need an introduction to a ‘Big Two’ derby; it’s going to be a massive occasion and a great atmosphere. Both teams will be very much up for it and there’s a lot at stake.”

The boyhood Linfield supporter and grandson of Blues legend Phil Scott believes the support of Blue men and women has been important this season but now he wants the fans to romp it up an extra notch, with three crucial home fixtures on the horizon over the coming weeks.

“It's great to see fans back in supporting us this season; the more the merrier! We want them to get right behind us and help us push on in the league, especially with three of our last four matches coming at home. Anyone can beat anyone, so it’s exciting for the neutral but we will just focus on ourselves. We know if we can take care of our job, we won’t have any issues. If you don’t enjoy times like these and the pressure that comes with fighting for titles, then you’re in the wrong sport. You’ve got to embrace it.”

The very best of wishes go to Jordan and the team for tonight’s huge match and indeed for an exciting and hopefully successful end to the season.
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