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Linfield boss Warren Feeney: We must smother Glentoran's fire


Focused: Linfield boss Warren Feeney won't let the Blues get complacent against Ballymena United

Focused: Linfield boss Warren Feeney won't let the Blues get complacent against Ballymena United

?William Cherry / Presseye

Focused: Linfield boss Warren Feeney won't let the Blues get complacent against Ballymena United

Warren Feeney is wary of a fired up Glentoran side coming to Windsor Park tomorrow to burst Linfield's bubble.

The Blues have a spring in their step after wins over Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts and the mood in their dressing room is a lot more upbeat after the threat of losing four games on the spin was banished with that 2-1 victory at Mourneview Park.

In contrast, Glentoran are suffering from a dose of the blues after defeats to Glenavon and then Ballinamallard United in the Wasp Solutions League Cup quarter-finals.

Penalty shoot-out pain at Ferney Park on Tuesday night was the last twist of fate Eddie Patterson and co needed after the Glens threw away a two-goal lead at home to Glenavon last weekend.

Amidst the verbal row over Gary Hamilton's eligibility was the stark reality that a growing injury list is disrupting Glentoran's season and underlining the lack of experience in their squad.

However, former Northern Ireland international Feeney still expects the east Belfast side to hit top gear at Windsor.

"My concern is always Linfield and how we play but I have no doubt Eddie Patterson and his side will come here confident they can win the game and they have some good, exciting young players in their squad," said Feeney.

"They are a decent side and they play football the right way. I know how football works and if you aren't fully focused on the job then you will get punished.

"This will be a very difficult game for us.

"It's a local derby, a Big Two derby and although Cliftonville have been champions for the last two seasons I think everyone understands the magnitude of this fixture in the Irish League.

"No matter what other people think I still consider that opposition teams relish the chance to beat Linfield and it should be a great occasion but it's important the players don't get caught up in that."

The Big Two fans are in for a treat if there's a repeat of the fireworks produced when the cross-town rivals met at The Oval in August.

The Glens tossed away a two-goal lead and Aaron Burns grabbed the winner right at the death.

Burns will be confident he can repeat the trick tomorrow given his current form.

When the going gets tough the tough get going and the Blues players, who had to endure fierce criticism after the defeats to Cliftonville and Crusaders, have come out fighting.

Feeney added: "I wasn't hugely disappointed with our performances but I think Cliftonville showed why they have a winning mentality and we were just guilty of naivety at times and that's football.

"I said before the Glenavon game that it was important we responded in the right way and to be fair our away form has been phenomenal.

"We lost to Portadown on the opening day of the season and our League Cup defeat at Ballyclare came after we made a number of changes to the team.

"I've been very happy with our current form and we do want to play football the right way.

"We have been able to do that in stages but we need more consistency and we need to manage games better.

"I asked for a response after three defeats on the bounce and we got that.

"The players are enjoying their football and it's important we keep going about our work the right way."

Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph understands Institute striker Stephen O'Flynn is one player who has his admirers at Windsor Park.

The former Derry City frontman has bagged nine league goals this season.

Feeney added: "I'm always thinking about what players would strengthen the team and we are looking at a few strikers."

Belfast Telegraph