Belfast Telegraph

Warren Feeney is relishing threat of key duo

By Billy Weir

Warren Feeney is a man who knows a thing or two about strikers so when he starts to talk enthusiastically about his new twin threat up front then the rest of the Danske Bank Premiership should sit up and take notice.

Not that the men in question offer many surprises to defenders having plied their trade here for many years, but now that Andy Waterworth and Guy Bates have joined forces, it is a mouth-watering prospect for Linfield fans.

The early signs are good, the two dove-tailing well in Saturday's opening-day hammering of Ballymena United, with Waterworth grabbing the third goal in a 4-0 win.

It was a day when he could and probably should have scored more, a point not lost on his boss.

"Andy has got his faults and his positives and Batesy is the same, but they're clever footballers," Feeney commented.

"Andy probably doesn't realise how much of a threat he is at times and I want him to be more ruthless.

"He gets in some fantastic positions and he knows that himself and we're working on that but I can't fault him.

"I said this last year that I thought he was up there with the best in the league, Batesy is proven and knows the league very well and he's not just a big man.

"He's got fantastic feet, he's clever and I'm delighted with the two of them."

And Bates, who has returned to this part of the world after a spell in Australia, is also looking forward to continuing his promising partnership with Waterworth.

"We've been together for four or five weeks and we've been working on a few things here and there but the only way we're going to get better is during games," said the Dublin-based hitman.

"The more we play together the more we can put together a better relationship and the more goals will come between us."

He knows that there is pressure on him to hit the ground running, especially with men waiting in the wings to return and Feeney's much-publicised wish for another striker to bolster his already bulging squad.

"Ivan Sproule has to come back in, Ross Clarke too and Niall Quinn has a cultured left peg and it's a pleasure to watch it, it wouldn't be out of place in any league in the world it's that good," added Bates.

"I never set myself any targets, the team comes long before me. I'm sure the manager has targets and we'll sit down and talk about them at a later date but at this point the team comes first."

And the next step in that is tomorrow night when the Blues travel to Taylor's Avenue to take on Premiership new-boys, Carrick Rangers.

"They did extremely well to get promoted last season and they've signed some very good players, Barry Johnston in particular," warned Bates.

"We know they're going to be hungry, they're going to be a very good team and they're going to be fit.

"It's at their home ground and it's going to be a tough game but we'll recover well and go again."

And it's the same message from Feeney.

"We won't get carried away, obviously it was a fantastic result on Saturday but we know it's going to be a very hard game for us down at Carrick," said the former Northern Ireland international.

"They've been promoted, Linfield's coming to town for their first home game and they've had a good result, so it's going to be a tough game for us but one we'll be ready for and fully respect.

"Gary Haveron has brought in a couple of experienced players who know the league well but we have to go and just worry about ourselves."

Belfast Telegraph


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