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Mannus banking on home comfort

By Stuart McKinley

Alan Mannus last night claimed that he and his Linfield team-mates will not treat Donegal Celtic any differently just because they managed to take points off Glentoran a few weeks ago.

The Windsor Park number one is back on club duty this afternoon after spending the best part of the last two weeks with the Northern Ireland squad.

And he is confident that the team's focus will be spot on despite the two week break as they go for a fifth straight home league win.

Not that Mannus is concentrating on that record.

"I haven't really thought about our record and that we've won all four of our home league games so far," he said.

"What's happened in the past doesn't come into it when we are playing the next game and at the same time what other teams have done doesn't matter either.

"Donegal Celtic have given us tough games before and we know they will give us another tough game, irrespective of getting a draw against Glentoran.

"Even if teams haven't been getting good results we know that they will always put everything into playing well against us.

"We don't look too far forward either, it's not about what we have done or what we are going to do, it's about doing it in each game and then moving on to the next one and doing it again in that."

Mannus was on the bench for both Northern Ireland's Euro 2008 qualifiers, at home to Denmark and away to Spain as the qualification dream faded in the Gran Canaria sun.

The international experience, however, is a major boost to Mannus' confidence.

"I was even happy when I was getting stand-by call-ups, so to from that to being third choice and now being on the bench now is great," he said.

"I go on the international trips with the intention of learning and improving my game and I think I have done that every time I have been away.

"It is a bit different in the build-up to the game, I do most of the warm-up with Maik Taylor and then help him work on what he wants to, but even as a substitute you have to prepare almost like you are playing the game because you never know when you might be needed."

The rest of the Linfield players haven't been taking it easy over the last couple of weeks, they have trained hard during the international break, but Mannus believes they will be refreshed.

"Mentally the players have had a rest and that is important too," said Mannus.

" It is hard for what is mostly still a part-time squad to prepare mentally every week. I have seen it from both a full-time and a part-time perspective and it can be draining.

"Personally I may have been away with Northern Ireland, but I am back now, I trained with the other full-time players on Friday morning and my focus is on Linfield now."

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