Belfast Telegraph

Jordan Owens can ruffle Linfield's feathers, maintains Crusaders defender Billy Joe Burns

By Graham Luney

Billy Joe Burns believes Jordan Owens is the man who can slam the brakes on Linfield's title charge.

The Blues have stormed to six consecutive league wins and are now a healthy five points ahead of champions Crusaders.

All roads lead to Seaview tomorrow as the title hopefuls meet for the first time this campaign and Warren Feeney's side are hungry to wrestle the Gibson Cup off the Hatchetmen.

The heavyweight showdown features the two best strikers in the league with Owens and Andy Waterworth leading the goalscoring charts with six strikes apiece.

Owens broke Cliftonville hearts at Solitude last weekend and he's also been a thorn in Linfield's side for many seasons.

Right-back Burns, who won three league and cup doubles at the Blues, knows the man affectionately known as 'Big Chicken' is a predator to be feared.

"Big Chicken is flying this season," said Burns (pictured). "I can remember playing against him, he was a real nuisance and huge goal threat. Now to be playing in the same team as him is fantastic.

"There is always an out ball there and you know big Jordan is going to chase down the ball if you supply a pass.

"He's strong in the air and can also produce a lethal shot.

"The wonderful thing for us is that a clean sheet should see us win a match as guys like Jordan, Paul Heatley and Gavin Whyte will score goals.

"Like Gavin, there was talk of Jordan playing at a higher level but at the moment both boys are doing the business for us and we are fortunate to have them."

Burns has been impressed with the form of his old employers but he also believes the Crues are only warming up in their title defence.

"Linfield have made a fantastic start, they have hit the ground running and will be delighted with their start," added Burns.

"Not only are they scoring goals but they are also keeping clean sheets and their defence has been impressive.

"We are expecting a battle on Saturday and it's one of those occasions when both sides know what to expect from the opposition.

"I don't think it's right to say we have turned a corner but we are moving in the right direction and I believe we have another two or three gears to go up. There is certainly more to come from us.

"We aren't playing at our full potential yet but winning at Solitude and also against Glenavon has given us all a boost as we know we have still to hit top gear."

LINFIELD midfielder Aaron Burns has pocketed the August Player of the Month award. Burns helped the Blues to five wins in the opening month of the season, notching five goals along the way.

"Some people saw last year as a disappointment but I saw it as a stepping stone in the right direction," he said.

"I think we could achieve something special this year. The changing room feels different. There's a new found confidence.

"Warren Feeney has a lot of critics but as far as I'm concerned he's the best manager in the country.

"I scored five goals in August but it was the manager and his staff who gave me the confidence to go out and play like that.

"Goals are an important part of my game now."

Cliftonville's George McMullan and Linfield striker Andy Waterworth also made the shortlist.

Former Glentoran man Jordan Stewart won the Goal of the Month award for August following his stunning 30-yard effort against Crusaders at The Oval.

Belfast Telegraph

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