Belfast Telegraph

Linfield chasing cup glory after season of failure

By Stuart McKinley

David Jeffrey has spelt out his desire to wipe out the memory of last season's trophyless campaign by leading Linfield to another clean sweep.

And that is why the Blues boss will send out his strongest possible team in tonight's Co Antrim Shield quarter-final clash against Ards.

While it is now a trend throughout football to used minor knockout competitions to give promising youngsters valuable game time and allow others to have a night off, Jeffrey's huger for success has been heightened by the recent silverware famine and he is determined to end the trophy drought.

"This is the first trophy of the season and after not winning anything last season we want to get our hands on this one," said Jeffrey.

"Other managers may see this as an opportunity to make some changes to their team after a busy start to the season, but I won't be doing that.

"There will be no tinkering, no rotation of players or resting anyone. The only players who won't be involved are Michael Gault and Aaron Burns as they are suspended.

"Other than that we will be playing a full-strength team because this is an opportunity to win a trophy and it's one we want to take.

"The players have been told that we set out to win every game this season and every trophy.

"While that is always the aim at Linfield, after what happened last season the determination to do that is even greater this time around."

The Blues have responded to failing to win in any of their first four league games of the season by winning the last four in a row.

That has moved them into fourth place in the Danske Bank Premiership and there are now signs that the new-look squad that Jeffrey put together during the summer, with no fewer than seven new arrivals, as well as Aaron Burns returning to the club, are starting to gel.

Those players who were already at Windsor Park are earning the bulk of Jeffrey's praise though.

"Jamie Mulgrew and Michael Gault are now senior players in our squad ," said Jeffrey.

"With the likes of William Murphy and Steven Douglas leaving over the summer they have stepped up and they showed a great maturity in their performance against Ballinamallard."

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