Belfast Telegraph

Problems? Linfield could go top on Saturday!

By Stuart McKinley

Paul McAreavey last night admitted to being in the worst form of his Linfield career.

The midfielder, however, has no concerns and is 100 per cent confident that both he and the Blues will be back firing on all cylinders in no time.

And he plans to do that the old fashinoned way — by working harder than ever.

David Jeffrey’s side go into tomorrow’s Irish FA Premiership meeting with Dungannon Swifts at Windsor Park on the back of a County Antrim Shield final defeat at the hands of Cliftonville on Tuesday night.

That result means the Blues have won just once in their last seven games — eight if the penalty shoot-out win over Crusaders in the Shield semi-final is considered as a draw.

“I didn’t know what our record was, but that must be the worst since I have been at Linfield,” said McAreavey.

“It hasn’t been good reading lately and it’s certainly not what I’ve been used to during my time at Linfield.

“The team has gone through a lot of changes this season with players leaving and young players coming in.

“It has taken them time to settle and it has been hard for them when the team’s form hasn’t been good either and there have been key players like myself, Michael Gault, Conor Hagan and Jamie Mulgrew injured at different times too.

“As well as being injured I know myself that I haven’t been performing at the same standards that I have been over the last couple of years.

“Different things have affected me on the pitch and it is something that I am determined to put right.

“The only way to do that and for the team to get back on track is to work hard and that’s what we are doing in every match and every training session.”

The doom and gloom merchants have been surrounding Linfield since the first of their four successive defeats last month, when they were put out of the Setanta Sports Cup by Derry City.

McAreavey though insists that the Linfield players are out to prove a point to themselves and not anyone else.

“I know the way the league stands and we are two points behind the leaders,” he said.

“With Crusaders and Glentoran playing against each other on Saturday, if they draw and we win then we will be top of the league.

“I wouldn’t say that we’ll have a laugh at the critics or even a chuckle to ourselves if that happens.

“We’re not trying to prove anyone wrong, we just want to prove ourselves right and get on a run again.”

Belfast Telegraph


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