Newry City striker Stephen Garrett is relishing the prospect of facing his old club Linfield three times over the course of the next 10 days as he bids to end City’s goal drought.
John McDonnell’s side will square up to the Blues tomorrow in the Co-operative Insurance Cup at The Showgrounds looking to find the back of the net for the first time in five games.
With a league game at the same venue coming before the return leg at Windsor Park on November 10, Newry having been marketing the matches as ‘The Trilogy’ in order to attract big crowds to their home ground and Garrett feels that they can finally find the goal they have been craving.
City were beaten finalist in last year’s competition, losing 1-0 to Portadown in a tight match at Mourneview Park at the end of February and while facing a resurgent Linfield isn’t the ideal start to this year’s cup run, Garrett says that there is no reason why they can’t progress.
“All the boys enjoyed the cup run we head last year. It was pretty fair to us in that every match we had was definitely winnable last year but we believe the two matches against Linfield are winnable as well,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to be extremely difficult as they have just hit form in the league but I think the cup could be a nice distraction for us.
“If you’re going to win the cup then you have to beat the best teams and Linfield certainly fall into that category.”
The 22-year-old was highly rated by his former manager but couldn’t force his way into the reckoning at Windsor before a loan spell with Newry turned into a permanent move at the beginning of last year and he knows that Jeffrey won’t underestimate City one bit come Saturday.
“I think he will prepare his side the same for every match and they will be under no illusions that we will provide them a tough test,” he added.
“Obviously the lack of goals at the minute is annoying everyone at the club but they will be well aware that we are out to break that duck and they will prepare just like every match.”
It’s that lack of goals that is the main cause for concern at The Showgrounds at the moment with neither Garrett, Chris Morgan or youngster Andy Graham able to break the deadlock in a long time.
Garrett admits that, while it is worrying, there are signs of improvement and they need to add that bit of ruthlessness possessed by the likes of Linfield to their game.
“The base is there and if we can create more chances and be a bit more clinical then we’ll be fine,” said Garrett.
“We’re always aware of how ruthless Linfield are, or how ruthless any team can be.
“Looking back at that game, it’s a positive in that we know we can create chances against them. They’re not untouchable and if the chances fall it’s up to us to take them.
“If we do go one or two nil up then there is no reason why we can’t close it out and get a good result going into the second leg.
“In the cup, it’s more important to get through than to have a good performance or to score plenty of goals.
“Obviously, scoring more goals will stand us in better stead in the long run, but for the immediate future, our aim has to be to not get beaten in the league and progress in the cup.”