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We have to keep up heat in league race, insists Burns

By David Mason

Versatile Aaron Burns insists Linfield must keep believing as they chase down Crusaders at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

David Healy's boys face a massive job in reeling in a seven-point deficit, but 25-year-old Burns, who can operate in midfield or up front, isn't for throwing in the towel.

With 12 games remaining -seven before the split - the Blues know there is no margin for error when they make the journey down the M1 tomorrow to face Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park tomorrow.

"We have to keep believing," said Burns. "Fair play to Crusaders, they keep on winning. They went through a wee spell hitting late goals and grinding out results, but they appear to be back to their best again.

"Basically, we have no influence on what happens elsewhere - we have to look after ourselves and make sure we win our games.

"This is a big game against Dungannon - they all are. Although we won comfortably at Stangmore Park last time, it's never an easy place to go. They are well managed by Rodney McAree and have players that can hurt you.

"Big Andy Mitchell has been on fire and he has already sorted out his future elsewhere. But we are in a nice little run, both in the league and cup - we have to try and keep that going.

"We have prepared well and if we turn up and do our jobs, then we can come away with three points. We know what to expect at Dungannon, so we have to go there mentally prepared."

The Blues are about to emerge from a testing month, having consumed only one defeat to date - at home to Coleraine.

Burns said: "It's been a tough run over the course of the month and, apart from the blip against Coleraine, results have been good.

"That was a big disappointment, especially after the win over Crusaders a few days earlier. Victory would have cut the gap to four points.

"But when you analyse things, we played the last 30 minutes at Seaview with only 10 men and we had Jimmy Callacher dismissed after only 35 minutes against Coleraine, so it was always going to be uphill after that.

"People say there was extra pressure on for that Coleraine match, but every time we pull on a blue shirt there is pressure, but it's something the players embrace - it comes with playing for a club like Linfield."

Burns is again relishing the prospect of facing his brother Andrew, who wears the blue of the Swifts. "We'll have a bit of craic leading up to the game," he added. "It's difficult not to talk about it because I'm with him most of the day due to our coaching responsibilities. Whatever happens, we'll shake hands at the end of it."

• Ards have signed Northern Ireland Under-21 midfielder Josh Doherty.

The 20-year-old from Newtownards had spells with Watford and Leyton Orient.

• Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien has left Glenavon and joined Carrick Rangers.

• Goalkeeper Alan Blayney has been placed on the transfer list at Ballymena United following the player's request.

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