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Linfield have the squad capable of coping with early season fixture congestion, claims Chris Shields


Chris Shields

Chris Shields

Chris Shields

Chris Shields believes Linfield have the squad to handle the early season fixture congestion brought about by their European venture.

The Blues face FC Zurich in a Europa League third qualifying round second leg clash on Thursday and then open their Danske Bank Premiership title defence three days later against Portadown at Windsor Park.

It will break new ground for the Blues, who will make a little bit of club history by playing a League game on Sunday for the first time.

“It means we are a victim of our own success,” states Shiels (right). “This is what we want to be doing.

“We’d rather be tested against top European teams than playing friendly games against the likes of Dundela or the Welders, with all respect to them.

“We want to be playing in high-magnitude European games that will test us. We have a squad to handle this kind of congestion of fixtures.

“Whatever happens over the next few weeks — and if we could make the European group stages, it would be fantastic — it will be about dealing with European fixtures and the opening League games.

“It makes for a hectic start of the season, but we would prefer to be playing twice a week rather than facing a backlog of fixtures.

“David (Healy) has assembled a squad of such quality that we can handle the they busy schedule. There are no worried faces in that dressing room.

“I’ve played in the group stages on two occasions, I know what it’s about and I know how to handle the fixture congestion.”

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