Linfield boss Jeffrey won’t write off Glentoran yet
David Jeffrey last night warned that Glentoran are still a threat to Linfield’s hopes of a third successive title — despite the east-Belfast men being a massive 17 points behind the Blues ahead of their annual Boxing Day clash.
And while Scott Young’s Glens have already got the better of their Big Two rivals twice this season, this time it’s a must win for the Glens if they are to maintain a realistic title challenge.
“You can never write off Glentoran,” said Jeffrey.
“They might be a bit behind at the minute, but we’ve been a fair few points back in the past and never gave up.I don’t expect Glentoran to either.
“They’ve beaten us twice this season and they’ll want to make that three, while we’ll be doing our utmost to make sure they don’t do that.”
The Blues went into Christmas as the number one team in the Carling Premiership.
They rediscovered their X factor after defeats to Cliftonville and the Glens last month — although Jeffrey was pleased with the performance of his team on their last trip to the Oval and claimed that the 2-0 defeat wasn’t a reflection of the game.
“When we hit the New Year I’ll be 15 years in charge at Linfield,” said Jeffrey.
“I was 10 years at the club as a player and had six months as assistant manager before I became manager when Trevor Anderson left.
“I’ll turn 50 next October, so I’ve now spent over half my life at Linfield and in all that time I can’t remember there being too many times when we’ve been top of the table at Christmas and it’s a good position for us to be in.
“You always want to be in or around there, but there is a long way to.”
Mark McAllister’s ban from Monday’s game, Rory Patterson’s continued absence and Peter Thompson only just returning from kidney surgery means that the Blues will go into battle with only one fully fit striker in Michael Carvill, but given his recent form there doesn’t seem to be a lot to worry about.
“Michael has been in excellent form for us,” said Jeffrey.
“He’s been unlucky with injury and illness before, but we always knew his quality.”