Belfast Telegraph

Jamie Mulgrew ready to prove Linfield have character

By Stuart McKinley

Jamie Mulgrew considers Linfield's slump in form as a test of character for every player in the squad - including himself.

And it is one that the 29-year-old is determined he and his team-mates will pass.

In 10 years as a first-team regular at Windsor Park, Mulgrew has never experienced losing more than two games in a row, let alone the current run of four successive defeats - the club's worst spell since 1997 - and he sees tonight's County Antrim Shield semi-final against Carrick Rangers as the perfect opportunity for the Blues to show their mettle.

"I've been through periods were we've maybe lost a couple on the bounce and then we get back on track, but nothing like this," said Mulgrew.

"This will test the character of the players at this club - all of us, even the experienced ones.

"It's a testing time for everyone, but we are playing at Linfield to be successful, that's what the club is all about and it's up to us to turn it around and start getting results because it's not good enough."

As the longest serving player in a squad that has gone through major transition in recent seasons - even before David Jeffrey left the club 18 months ago - Mulgrew is a player that the younger members of the squad and the supporters look to as someone who can lead them through their dip in form.

He has the ability and the leadership qualities to do that and is happy to take that weight on his shoulders too and he understands how the supporters are feeling at present.

"I always feel responsibility and always have since I've been here," said Mulgrew. "There's always been that bit of pressure when you're expected to win every week.

"I've learned to deal with that, I accept that and I have no problem with that. I was a supporter once so I know how frustrated the fans are after not winning for a period of time.

"The players are frustrated and disappointed too, but it's up to us, we carry that responsibility and we must put it right and start to turn the corner."

The County Antrim Shield success two seasons ago is the only trophy that Linfield have won since their run of six doubles in seven seasons came to an end in 2012 and while it is a competition that is ridiculed in some quarters, Mulgrew doesn't care what the critics say if Linfield can break their run of defeats and then go on to end their trophy famine.

"It's a semi-final and when you are at Linfield you are expected to win trophies," said Mulgrew.

"People might say 'it's only the County Antrim Shield' but it doesn't matter to us, it's an opportunity to get into a final.

"That should be enough motivation for us to go and win."

Belfast Telegraph


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