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Linfield have no interest in sharing the points, says Andy Waterworth


Photo-William Cherry/Presseye

Andy Waterworth says Linfield will be going all out to land a huge psychological blow on title rivals Cliftonville this afternoon.

If David Jeffrey's side can conquer the Reds at Solitude, they will go eight points clear in the race for the Gibson Cup.

However, a win for the reigning champions would slash the gap at the top to only two points – then it's game on!

Defeat for Cliftonville would leave them with a mountain significantly higher than the Cave Hill to climb.

Tommy Breslin's charges are capable of doing it but they'd rather retain the championship the easier way. The Blues are themselves hungry for title glory after finishing last season 29 points adrift of Cliftonville and they look as if they have the bit between their teeth.

Their squad is packed with more experience and quality, though a 3-3 draw at home to Ards last weekend wasn't in the script.

A draw this afternoon would suit the Blues more than their cross-town rivals but Waterworth says it's not in his nature to settle for that.

"I'm a winner and I always go for the win," said the former Glentoran favourite.

"I think that approach and mindset suits us.

"If you have a draw as a target, that can backfire on you.

"On a tight Solitude pitch you cannot play expansive football and we discovered that on our last visit when we were well beaten.

"So you have to be conscious of the fact you are away from home at a difficult venue against talented opponents but Linfield teams don't go out to draw matches.

"A win would give our fans the bragging rights and it would be a big psychological blow to Cliftonville.

"It's not a title decider but it's a very important game and I'm really looking forward to it – these are the big games you want to play in."

Waterworth is happy to let other people talk about the permutations and pressures as he focuses on the job ahead.

"I'm just interested in us racking up as many points as we can," he added.

"The important thing for Linfield is that we are challenging again – the club wasn't in this situation last season.

"Playing for the championship is much more exciting than just trying to finish as high as you can in the top six.

"There's a massive incentive for us to win the game in that we go eight points clear but when you start thinking of these permutations you can end up getting kicked in the teeth."

Waterworth's former Glentoran team-mate Jimmy Callacher has finally completed his transfer to Windsor and the striker has put out the welcome mat for him.

"Jimmy is only 22 and has an opportunity to become a mainstay in a successful Linfield side," he added.

"He can play in different positions and he's someone who is good in the air and from set-pieces.

"He's a good lad and a Linfield man, he's enjoying it here and it's great to see the transfer being finalised.

"It's important you have a healthy squad but I see other clubs strengthening and that has a knock-on effect.

Irish League squads are looking really strong at the moment."

Linfield will be without the injured Philip Lowry, Aaron Burns and Mark McAllister today.

Jeffrey said: "Cliftonville are coming into the game on the back of winning the League Cup in a hard fought affair against Crusaders last weekend.

"I would agree with those pundits who were of the view that Cliftonville deserved their triumph, so they will be buoyed by that and come into this game on a real high."

Belfast Telegraph