Philip Lowry is aiming for a high-five as Linfield attempt to put a major dent in Glentoran’s hopes of making history.
No Glentoran team has retained the Irish League title since 1968 — and Lowry wants it to stay that way by taking the Gibson Cup back to Windsor Park.
The Glens cut the gap on the Blues at the top of the Carling Premiership to two points on Saturday and although Linfield have a game in hand, a victory for Scott Young’s team in tonight’s Big Two clash at Windsor Park would see them go top and give them a psychological edge as the finishing line draws near.
A Linfield win would restore the lead to five points and that would allow them to go eight points clear with just three games to go when they face Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.
“The title won’t be decided by this game — we won’t be champions just by winning it — but if we can have a five-point lead with Glentoran having three games to play and us with a game in hand it would give us a massive advantage,” said Lowry, who is in his first season with the Blues having signed from Institute.
“These Big Two games are fantastic to play in and I have been quite successful thus far, only losing to Glentoran in the quarter-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.
“This is the biggest so far though and the chance to go five points clear is a massive incentive for us.”
The Glens’ recent run of four straight league wins under Scott Young — after back-to-back defeats against Portadown and Dungannon Swifts led to Alan McDonald’s departure — has shot them back into contention in the title race, but one more slip could be fatal. Particularly if it comes at Windsor Park tonight.
Lowry was one of seven players that manager David Jeffrey left at home when Linfield travelled to Dublin for Saturday’s Setanta Sports Cup semi-final against Bohemians and is expected to come back into the team tonight after an impressive run of form.
“I was disappointed when I was told I wasn’t going to be playing against Bohemians because everyone wants to play in the big games,” said Lowry.
“The manager knows best though and he’s trying to work with the squad to keep everyone fresh.
“Every game between now and the end of the season is massive though and there are major consequences with every one.
“If we can win them all then we’ll end up with three trophies (the Carling Premiership, the Irish Cup and the Setanta Cup).
“We don’t need any more motivation than to try to win them all.”
The Glens already have a trophy in the bag after winning the Co-operative Insurance Cup as part of their recent upturn in fortunes.
“Glentoran will be galvanised by winning a trophy and as defending champions they won’t give that up easily,” said Lowry.