Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Roy Walker keeping a lid on the Sky Blue boom time

Roy Walker is having to learn how to cope with an unusual new feeling sweeping across the Showgrounds — optimism.

Normally the mood around Warden Street is more doom and gloom than boom but Walker’s fledgling outfit have been punching above their weight this season with some big guns left bruised and battered.

Glentoran can testify to that and now the other half of the Big Two, Linfield, come calling to the Braid, and having lost 2-0 on their past two visits, they will know that Walker will have his charges ready to roar out of the sky blue corner.

But with three wins on the bounce, nine goals in the debit column and sitting pretty in fifth spot in the Carling Premiership table, soaring expectations mean Walker has been keen to ensure that feet stay planted on terra firma.

“I don't want our players saying anything silly during the week,” he said. “We've got to keep a lid on it and don't make things easy for Linfield.

“I just want us to approach the game in a nice manner the way we have in the last number of games.

“Since the season started we've kept our feet on the ground, we know we're still a long way away yet but there are good signs.”

The new stand at the Showgrounds will be packed to the rafters today with Bluemen, apart from the 20 per cent that health and safety sages in their infinite wisdom say that must be left empty, and Walker is relishing a big-game atmosphere at what is becoming one of the best stadia in the country.

“I think the ground deserves to be filled to capacity, if we can get it there,” he added.

“I was speaking to a few Linfield men and I was interested about their comments.

“I think they think they might get a game and I hope we don't disappoint them.

“We need to be brave, be really brave as individuals and as a team and if we do that then we'll have a chance.

“They'll be the favourites. It's a game that really takes care of itself, it's not one you have to hype, it's probably the opposite.”

And as for David Jeffrey’s men suddenly hitting the goals trail, well Walker is more anxious that his lives up to its own billing.

“Linfield have changed the shape of their team and the way they’ve been playing,” he added.

“My own concern is that if we play as we can play they will compete and give themselves a chance but if they don't we can't afford to carry too many players.

“We need players on their A game and if they come with that we have a chance.”

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