Belfast Telegraph

What else would they be doing?: Warrenpoint boss backs busy Christmas schedule

 

By Graham Luney

Linfield manager David Healy has shared his frustration with the tough winter schedule for part-time players, but Warrenpoint Town boss Matthew Tipton says 'bring it on'.

Town travel to Windsor Park tomorrow well aware that points are precious as they look to consolidate their Danske Bank Premiership status, but the Blues won't be handing out any early Christmas presents as they are 12 points behind leaders Coleraine.

Healy's champions may have played two fewer games than the pacesetters, but there's no sign of the Bannsiders' bubble bursting, and Linfield can't afford to lose further ground.

With four top-flight games - including Linfield's trip to Carrick - last weekend falling victim to the cold snap, clubs are braced for a packed schedule and Healy has labelled four games in nine days as "madness".

Former Blues frontman Tipton, however, wouldn't have it any other way.

"It is a demanding schedule for the players but there's no point in moaning about it," said the Welshman.

"If I start moaning about it then my players will have an excuse to come back with. What else will the players be doing, sitting at home with their wives watching rubbish television and eating stale turkey? Get them out playing, it will do them no harm."

After this date with Linfield, Warrenpoint have Coleraine and Glenavon on their minds, and any points that can be pocketed will really inject some festive cheer into the dressing room.

"We knew this was going to be a tough month with the fixtures coming thick and fast," said the former Macclesfield and Oldham man.

"We had Cliftonville and Crusaders, now Linfield, and we have Coleraine next Friday, then away at Glenavon. Anything we pick up against these teams will be a bonus and a bigger pick-up than what the Irish Cup tie against Cliftonville can give us.

"The Crusaders game was the story of our season, we have to be more ruthless and less generous in terms of giving teams opportunities to score. We have to make sure we are really tuned in for 90 minutes.

"If a team scores a wonder goal against us or cuts us open playing brilliant football then you hold your hands up but defensive mistakes we can't accept.

"Linfield don't lose many league matches and they will be targeting us as another three points so we will need a game plan to make sure that doesn't happen.

"I didn't come into this job with any pre-conceived ideas. I'm delighted to have this opportunity and I'm enjoying it. There are times I question my sanity on a Saturday night when I look at the goals but you soon start preparing for the next game."

As the Premiership challenges are massive, the Tennent's Irish Cup draw could have provided some light relief to Town but it wasn't to be as a trip to Cliftonville on January 6 is a daunting hurdle.

"Cliftonville will be hungry to get to the final as they haven't won the competition in a long time," added Tipton. "It's become a burden to the club and there will be a real desire to win it.

"I had decent Cup runs with Portadown and Ballymena United but didn't make it to the final. You've not got too many games to get to the semi-final stage but the Cliftonville game will be massive.

"I'll see how many points we pick up in the league over the next few games before making any judgments on the Irish Cup. It could be a turning point in our season, we'll see.

"In January we will be worrying about keeping what we have rather than bringing players in. The squad is settled in how I want them to play, and it's about getting results.

"I don't want to lose any of my players. If any go they will go with my blessing as they aren't playing as much. There aren't too many players available to bring in.

"If you bring in someone in January you want them to hit the ground running but that doesn't happen.

"You can't expect players to fit in after just a few training sessions."

Linfield vs Warrenpoint T

Danske Bank Premiership

Windsor Park, Tomorrow, 3.00pm

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