Managers programme notes

Posted : 23rd April 2022

This evening we will face a Larne team that are in good form, as they are building up towards the challenges of the upcoming European play offs.

In their post split games to date, they’ve beaten Coleraine 3-0 and secured scoreless draws at both Solitude and the Oval, so they will arrive at Windsor Park wanting to maintain their momentum and unbeaten sequence.

Larne enjoyed their European adventure last year and they are fully focused on securing a return to Europe via the play offs, so we know we will face a fully motivated team tonight. We know how tough this game is going to be from our previous close league games and of course, our two cup defeats - one in the Irish Cup and the other in the County Antrim Shield final.

We come in to this evening’s game on the back of a hugely important 2-1 win at Seaview on Easter Tuesday. It was tense, it was nervy and it was nail biting but the players showed real steel, mental toughness and resilience to see out a deserved win at such a tough venue.

Ethan Devine popped up with another all important winner for us and he’s certainly been proving popular and effective, with his knack of grabbing vital goals at big moments in huge games for us. Long may it continue.

We’ve had a tough run of fixtures and it’s been vital that we came out of the three back to back Belfast derby fixtures with our lead still in tact at the top of the table and thankfully, we’ve managed to do that.

However, our lead is only a single point and anything can still happen. There are fine margins between winning, drawing and losing in football and we are fully focused on doing all in our power to win our two remaining league games, to ensure we maintain our top of the league position until the very end.

It’s been a fantastic title race and while we have now secured European football for the upcoming summer, it’s the big prize we would love to win but there is a lot of work to be done against Larne and Coleraine, if we are to be successful in our aims.

Several players missed the midweek game at Seaview due to various niggles and injuries and before today’s game, we will have assessed whether some are in a position to return. Stephen Fallon, Christy Manzinga, Michael Newberry, Conor Pepper, Martin Donnelly, Cameron Palmer, Michel Parker and Andrew Clarke all missed out in midweek, as well as our longer-term absentee Ross Larkin.

Tonight is likely to be another nervy, tense affair, as there is so much at stake at this vital make or break stage of the season. I've been so proud of the players and staff for all of their efforts in what has been a hugely challenging season on and off the pitch.

We will need the wholehearted and positive backing of a large Linfield following here tonight, to help push us on towards our aims. It's going to be a huge challenge against a side packed with talented players but our supporters can make a real difference tonight in getting behind every player and driving them on.

Audaces Fortuna Juvat
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