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Dungannon Swifts aiming to break Linfield curse with another upset

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 26/08/2016

Upbeat: Rodney McAree was thrilled with Swifts’ victory over Cliftonville
Upbeat: Rodney McAree was thrilled with Swifts’ victory over Cliftonville

Rodney McAree finally banished one unwanted record at Cliftonville, and now the Dungannon Swifts boss has his sights set on ending another.

The Tyrone side broke their winless streak against the Reds - but they have never won a league game at Linfield in 13 seasons in the top division.

Their latest chance comes tomorrow, as two of the Danske Bank Premiership's form sides meet at Windsor Park.

Dungannon's last two games have brought a 4-0 win over Coleraine and that landmark result at Solitude. The Blues, meanwhile, claimed a mightily impressive four-goal victory against Glenavon last time out.

McAree admits it will be a hugely difficult game, but believes the pressure is off his side.

"If someone had said we would get two points from games at Cliftonville and Linfield, I would have been absolutely delighted," he said.

"So to go to Windsor Park with three points already on the board is excellent.

"In some ways this weekend's game is a bit of a free one.

"We can go to Linfield, look to express ourselves and see where it takes us. We're not going there expecting to be beaten, although we recognise it will be an extremely difficult game."

Dungannon opened the season with back-to-back defeats against Glentoran and Ards.

But they got things up and running with that big win over Coleraine.

The victory at Cliftonville has given their points tally a healthier complexion than McAree probably expected.

He said: "After losing our first two games, we had Coleraine, Cliftonville and Linfield to come, so to have six points at this stage is a huge boost for us.

"It shows what the players are capable of - we can spring a surprise and we can beat big teams on our day.

"It gives the players a bit more belief that they can compete against the top sides, and that is especially important going into this weekend.

"Linfield winning 4-0 against a very good Glenavon side shows their quality."

McAree is eagerly awaiting the return to fitness of Paul McElroy.

The winger has not played since scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Glentoran on New Year's Day.

He is due to step up his comeback in a reserve game this weekend, after which he should be available for first-team selection.

McAree added: "Saturday will probably come a little bit soon for him, but we will assess things after this weekend."

Defender Chris Hegarty is an injury doubt after suffering a hip problem before last weekend's game at Cliftonville, and could miss out on facing his former club.

• Linfield have confirmed striker Adam Salley has signed on loan for Carrick Rangers until the end of the season.

Belfast Telegraph

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