Manager’s programme notes

Posted : 12th April 2023

Tonight we will host Glentoran in what we hope will be our final home game in a long and demanding season.

Glentoran will have a lot to play for in this game and I’m expecting the usual, competitive derby encounter played in front of a large turn-out of supporters from both clubs.

The 3-0 league defeats we sustained against Glentoran in October and February were particularly painful but we’ve also enjoyed a pleasing Boxing Day win at the Oval, as well as two cup semi-final victories against Glentoran, so we will be aiming for a repeat of those positive results in tonight’s hugely important fixture.

These notes are being compiled before the Good Friday Premiership games but I’m hoping we came out of our home game against Crusaders with a win, to set us up nicely for tonight’s eagerly anticipated game.

At Linfield, the challenge is always to win every game but at this stage of the season, the stakes are even greater than usual. We know the challenge is to find a way to win each of the four remaining games to help us in our aim of trying the retain the Premiership title. If it does not prove possible to overhaul the points deficit from League leaders Larne, our aim will be to secure second place and the automatic European qualifying position, as we want to avoid the play-offs, to prolong the season beyond the 60 competitive games we will have played by the end of this month.

Post-split games between the top six sides are always tight and fiercely competitive, with every team having something to play for, so every goal and every point will be hard earned and precious.

In what I hope will be our final home game of the season, I want to pay tribute to all of my coaches and backroom staff who’ve made a major contribution throughout a long and challenging season.

My sincere appreciation is extended to Ross Oliver, George McCartney, Jonny Williamson, Ricky McCann, Dr. Patrick Noble, Terry Hayes, Paul Butler, Gary Eccles. Josh Eccles, Jamesy Robertson, Alastair Cooper, Caroline Millar, Lindsay Corry and Jessica Hanna.

It really is a team effort, both on and off the pitch and I want to thank all the players and all the staff who’ve worked so hard since we reported for pre-season training in June last year.

I also want to thank Willie McKeown who works tirelessly in a variety of ways to provide so much support for the first team squad. His vast experience is so valuable and will continue to prove vital over the months ahead.

I want to wish Ross Larkin every success, as he aims to take part in the upcoming Belfast marathon, to raise funds for Brainwaves NI and hopefully, our supporters can help him with his fundraising efforts on his JustGiving page.

Last but not least, I want to thank our supporters who’ve followed us throughout a season which still has three away games ahead of us - at Coleraine, Larne and Cliftonville. Your loyalty, sacrifices and positive encouragement have been greatly appreciated and hopefully, you can drive us on to success tonight and in the coming weeks
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Queen's University
League Cup
Kick-off : 3rd October @ 7:45pm
Venue : Windsor Park
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Newry City
Irish Premier League Match Report