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Linfield hoping patched-up side can keep their season alive in Cliftonville double-header

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Linfield's Northern Ireland international Kelsie Burrows. Credit: Philip Magowan / Press Eye

Linfield's Northern Ireland international Kelsie Burrows. Credit: Philip Magowan / Press Eye

Philip Magowan / Press Eye

Linfield's Northern Ireland international Kelsie Burrows. Credit: Philip Magowan / Press Eye

Phil Lewis will lead Linfield Ladies into two crunch battles with Cliftonville Ladies this week also fighting a struggle against a nightmare mix of two other ingredients.

A heavy fixture schedule and a lengthening injury list, which includes the long-term absences of two Northern Ireland internationals, have hit the Blues hard.

A record of just one victory in their last seven games – which includes a County Antrim Cup defeat to Crusaders Strikers – has ended Linfield’s interest in two competitions, with any realistic hopes of regaining the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership title now gone.

While the Reds will aim for two victories that could steer them towards a double, for the Blues this evening’s league game is all about restoring confidence before fighting to keep their season alive in Friday night’s Irish Cup last 16 clash.

“There is always pressure being at Linfield, but I don’t think about that,” said Lewis.

“At the minute I’m thinking about how many fit players I’ve got to play in a match and can I put them out in an organised way that we will give a good account of ourselves and we’ll see where that takes us.

“Our heads haven’t dropped in any way. We are trying to get through to the players to have belief in themselves because we have players who have won the league, young players who have won league titles in younger age groups and have now come in, but it’s just having that bit of experience at the right time.”

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With Abbie Magee and Ashley Hutton both missing following cruciate ligament surgery Lewis was hit with further absences meaning missing four of his first-choice back five in last weekend’s 6-0 defeat at Sion Swifts Ladies.

“If we have Kelsie Burrows and Louise McFredrick back and Nicole Adams in goal that makes us that bit more solid at the back, but when we haven’t had all three for the last two games it’s made it very difficult,” he said.

“I like to think we’ll make it awkward for any team, but when we have to make changes and have experienced players missing it’s hard.

“We’ll give it a good go and then see where the cup game takes us at the end of the week.

“Cliftonville went and got a really good win against Sion Swifts, who were probably on a high after beating ourselves.”


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