Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Leeman confident of making Blues sweat

Glentoran captain Paul Leeman will concentrate on getting three points first before going for goals when the east-Belfast men take on Cliftonville in a crucial Irish Premier League clash tonight.

The importance of the game is two-fold. The Glens need to win in order to keep the pressure on Linfield at the top of the table, while the Reds are still harbouring hopes of finishing second - above Alan McDonald's side.

The Glens failed to turn up the heat on the Blues when last Saturday's Big Two clash at Windsor Park ended 0-0 and with Linfield having a three point lead a goal difference that is six better than their bitter rivals a home win at the Oval this evening by a handsome scoreline would be more than welcome.

Only a victory will do for Eddie Patterson's men to achieve that and anything less then victory for Glentoran will open the door for Linfield to be able to win the title when they travel to Glenavon tomorrow.

Leeman, however, is determined not to hand the Blues that chance.

"The next two games really are must win for us if we are to have any chance of winning the league," said Leeman.

"We have to win to keep the pressure on Linfield. All we can do is go out and get six points and then see if luck goes our way elsewhere.

"First and foremost we have to go out and beat Cliftonville and not worry too much about how many goals we score.

"We can't go out and be gung-ho; we can't go on all-out attack. We need to be cautious because Cliftonville are a good side and they are capable of causing us problems.

"They may not have been in great form lately, but they are dangerous.

"Eddie Patterson will still want to finish second in the league to go one better than last season and we have to make sure that doesn't happen."

It is the second time this season that the Glens have featured in a live game under the Irish League's deal with Sky Sports and they will be hoping that the omens stick with them because last time out they recorded a win over Linfield in the Boxing Day meeting.

The Reds themselves have featured twice in Sky games before, both against the Blues as well, with both encounters ending in a draw.

"Playing live on television adds a bit of excitement and interest to the matches," said Leeman.

"It is good for the league that it is getting coverage and hopefully there will be more next season."

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