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Feeney points to belief as Blues' big strength


This way: Warren Feeney insists he’ll have Linfield geared up for the challenge of Glenavon at
Windsor Park

This way: Warren Feeney insists he’ll have Linfield geared up for the challenge of Glenavon at Windsor Park

?William Cherry / Presseye

This way: Warren Feeney insists he’ll have Linfield geared up for the challenge of Glenavon at Windsor Park

Linfield boss Warren Feeney is determined to add Glenavon to the league leaders' list of scalps this afternoon when the two sides clash in the Danske Bank Premiership at Windsor Park.

The Blues have won seven of their opening eight league fixtures this season, with only defending champions Crusaders getting the better of them so far.

Feeney and his team appear full of confidence after last Saturday's 5-1 victory over Warrenpoint Town.

The former Northern Ireland international said: "This is going to be a big test for us because Glenavon are a very talented side, but I'm very positive about the game.

"I'm very pleased with how we've performed this season. We had a fantastic run with just one slip-up against Crusaders a fortnight ago.

"But you're going to get defeats like that at times during the season and for me it's all about how you respond to it and I think we responded to it very well against Warrenpoint Town last weekend, so we can approach this Glenavon game with confidence.

"The players believe in themselves this season and I think that's shown in their performances."

Although the Lurgan Blues have enjoyed mixed fortunes this season, Feeney believes Gary Hamilton's men are still a formidable side.

"Glenavon were superb at the end of last season, they finished fantastically well, with a great run of form that got them into Europe," added Feeney.

"The majority of that team are still at the club with a few additions, so you've got to respect this side.

"I know Gary and Paul Millar very well, and I see they've been joined by Brian McLoughlin (former Linfield coach), who I'm sure will do a great job for them, but although I've a lot of respect for Glenavon I'm more concerned for my football club.

"I know Gary will have Glenavon coming here full of confidence, but I will have the boys ready for the challenge. The players have been superb this season and I want to see more of the same against Glenavon."

Although Linfield have been flying in the league this season, Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Championship Two side Newington in the County Antrim Shield was particularly underwhelming.

Despite the lacklustre display, Feeney stands by his decision to give starts to the likes of Gareth Deane, Seanan Foster, TJ Murray, Adam Salley, Danny Wallace and Dale Patton.

"There's an awful lot of good young players at this football club," insisted Feeney.

"I've always believed that if you're good enough, you're old enough, so I won't shy away from playing young players in league games if I think they're capable, but I think it's important for these lads to get experience in cup games.

"Reserve team football is fine but young players have to be given the chance to play in the first team so they can learn to play in front of crowds at Windsor Park against tough teams that get stuck in.

"I hate training ground internationals who are fantastic on the training pitch but when it comes to the real stuff they freeze.

"I've played with a lot of them over my career and I don't want it at my club, which is why I want to give these lads game time.

"We got through to the next round, so I've no regrets."

Belfast Telegraph