Robbie Casey knows the lion will be in a very bad mood tomorrow afternoon.
The Newry City caretaker boss will send his men into the lion’s den at Windsor Park hoping they will come out of it with their heads held high.
As a player, Casey knew that the international stadium injected fear into opposing sides but this Linfield team are expected to be even more ruthless.
Still smarting from their Irish Cup draw with little Dunmurry Rec and shock 5-3 defeat to Dundalk in the Setanta Sports Cup, David Jeffrey’s men are determined to take their frustration out on someone.
And next in the queue at the home of the league champions is second from bottom City, fighting for their lives and searching for a new manager after Gerry Flynn’s dismissal.
“They are coming off the back of a disappointing result — it is unheard of for Linfield to concede five goals,” said Casey.
“Now they will be angry and determined to hit back. They aren’t top of the league for no reason and they will be out to show their class again.
“Rather than being vulnerable, I expect Linfield to be all guns blazing, fired up to make amends. Windsor Park has always been a lion’s den and even more so this weekend.
“I know as a player how tough it was to get a result there but our players should relish the occasion and play without fear or pressure.
“If they win the game they will be heroes, they have nothing to lose in that respect.
“They should have a rattle but it’s a big ask to match or beat Linfield on their own patch.”
City can at least take encouragement from their penalty shoot-out victory over the Blues in the Co-operative Insurance Cup earlier in the season.
“Penalties are a lottery but it was a sweet win for Gerry (Flynn) then,” admitted Casey. “Our goalkeeper Andy Coleman made a few great saves to frustrate them that day. I always think a football match is 11 v 11 and you can achieve a lot with self-belief and have a real go. You never know the mindset of the opposition.
“We will raise our game but the boys need a confidence boost and this game could provide it. This is a critical stage of the season and the players are determined to finish strongly.”
City are not rushing into making a decision on the vacant managerial post.
“I’ve been very impressed with the calibre of people applying for the job,” added Casey. “The applications have come from all over and I was greatly encouraged by that. It is great to see that level of interest in a club which is in the middle of a survival fight. It is unreal really.
“I’m happy to get the club out of a hole though I don’t have my ‘A’ licence.
“Hopefully the club can get stability and climb away from the bottom, it’s not a nice place to be.
“We’ve had a good chat and the players are chomping at the bit to put things right and get ourselves out of this mess.
“A result at Linfield would give us a massive lift in our fight for survival.”