Belfast Telegraph

Dundalk horror is behind us, says Blues ace Millar

Battle ready: Kirk Millar expects a stern test from Glenavon this evening
Battle ready: Kirk Millar expects a stern test from Glenavon this evening

By Graham Luney

Linfield winger Kirk Millar says the team is now kicking on from the heavy Champions Cup loss to Dundalk and hungry to keep the pressure on their title rivals.

The Blues take on Glenavon tonight under the BBC cameras and Mourneview Park floodlights.

A victory in Lurgan would leave David Healy's side four points behind leaders Cliftonville, with two games in hand.

Although the champions have been playing catch-up following their European heroics, they are still well placed to defend their crown.

And it was important to win at Institute last Saturday to begin the process of moving on from the 6-0 thrashing by the League of Ireland champions.

While the Lilywhites were on fire at Oriel Park, it was certainly an off night for the Blues, whose 7-1 aggregate loss will only strengthen the resolve of Healy's men to lift the big domestic prizes.

Former Oldham Athletic ace Millar is trying to forget about the Dundalk horror show and says he's not convinced of the merits of an All-Island League.

Sign In

"I don't think an All-Island League would work unless all the teams are full-time," said the 27-year-old.

"You can't have part-time teams facing full-time sides, it just wouldn't work.

"Although the Champions Cup defeat was a disappointing result, we have to move on and perform well in the domestic trophies.

"It was good to get a win against Institute, especially coming off the back of the Dundalk game, it was what the squad needed and important to get the result.

"It's important to win after a poor result and the Dundalk game is in the past now and hopefully leaving my memory.

"It was just an off night for the lads and we aren't looking back on it.

"We are looking forward because we have some really tough games ahead.

"Dundalk have won five league titles in a row and they are obviously hard to play against."

Glenavon find themselves in 10th spot after a difficult start to the season but they also have a thrashing on their own minds - the 7-0 defeat to Linfield at Windsor Park in September.

But as Warrenpoint proved against Coleraine at the weekend, in this league there are no easy fixtures.

"We've been playing catch-up in the league race, and still are, but if we can win the games we will go top," added Millar.

"Glenavon away is never an easy game for us but hopefully we can pocket another three points.

"The quality of the teams in the league is very high and it's nice to have that competition, it helps you raise your standards.

"We've been playing well as a team and all the lads are sticking together."

Andrew Waterworth scored two penalties and Bastien Hery also hit the target as Linfield swept 'Stute aside 3-0 last weekend.

Healy admitted the Dundalk defeat was a wake-cup call for his side but he still expects them to get stronger.

"It was important that we won against Institute, but I don't think it was about getting the Dundalk game out of the system," said Northern Ireland's record goalscorer.

"It was hard to be critical of the players because they have given so much and given me so much pleasure as a manager.

"It's a joy to manage them but it was maybe a wake-up call.

"If we take care of our job from now until after Christmas, and put ourselves in a good position, then hopefully we can end the season with a real charge."

Meanwhile, Linfield's trip to Solitude to face Cliftonville in the Premiership on Monday, January 13 will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

The Sky cameras will also be at the Coleraine Showgrounds on Monday, January 27 when Coleraine host the Reds.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph