Glentoran boss Alan McDonald has told his players it’s time to show Linfield what they are really made of.
McDonald admits he has been largely disappointed by his side’s performances in Big Two encounters since taking over — in the league at least — with only a couple of top-notch displays during that time.
The former Northern Ireland captain’s league record against the Blues isn’t actually that bad with two wins, two defeats and three draws.
But victories for the Glens at Windsor Park are sparse and the east Belfast men haven’t taken all three points there since March 18, 2000 when a youthful David Rainey scrambled in a late winner.
And while this isn’t exactly a must-win game for the champions, anything less will put the advantage firmly in Linfield’s favour.
David Jeffrey’s side are currently a point behind their third-placed rivals but with a game in hand, so victory for the Glens would put a welcome buffer between the teams.
If they are to do that though, McDonald believes his men will have to put on the type of display he has only seldom seen in Big Two clashes.
“If I am honest I have been a bit disappointed by our performances in league games against Linfield,” he said. “We have been OK in some games but I don’t think we have really stamped our authority on games.
“If you are to win these types of matches you have to be up for it from the start and keep it going throughout the entire game.
“We haven’t done that in my time here.”
He added: “Our record at Windsor Park isn’t good. Since I have been here we haven’t won there in the league and I don’t actually know how far back it goes so it is something that we have to put an end to.”
The Glens have been through a roller coaster of a season which dipped suddenly a couple of weeks ago after two poor performances against Lisburn Distillery and Crusaders.
However, a very good first half in the victory over Portadown at the Oval on Saturday has lifted spirits and McDonald wants more of the same.
“That was the best we have played at home all season — some of the football we played was great and I was really pleased by our tempo,” he said. “We are going to have to do that again.
“It is going to be a very, very tough game. It will be tense and the atmosphere will be great as usual and our players are going to have to be ready mentally if they are to get something from it.”