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Linfield’s Cameron Palmer believes his former Rangers teammate Daniel Finlayson will be a Windsor Park hit

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Cameron Palmer and Chris McKee played with Daniel Finlayson at Rangers

Cameron Palmer and Chris McKee played with Daniel Finlayson at Rangers

Cameron Palmer and Chris McKee played with Daniel Finlayson at Rangers

Cameron Palmer believes his close pal Daniel Finlayson will be a huge hit at Linfield.

The versatile 21-year-old (right) has joined the Danske Bank Premiership Champions on a season-long loan deal from St Mirren.

His arrival meant it was reunion time at Windsor Park because Finlayson again linked up with his former Rangers team-mates Palmer and striker Chris McKee.

“I played with Daniel at Rangers and Orange County, he is one of my close pals,” says Palmer.

“It’s great to have him at the club. He got a taste of the European games which he has been loving — he’ll be a key player for us this year.

“Chris McKee and Daniel were in the same team at Rangers, so it’s great the three of us are back together again, we all know each other very well.”

Palmer is also relieved to be back in action, having had to sit out most of last season’s title success due to injury.

He adds: “I’m just glad to be back in the squad, I’m loving it. It’s been a long time coming. It was a bit of a nightmare having to sit out most of the season.

“It all started well. I played in the European games but around about October time, I began to sustain a few injuries. That’s football. It’s important I put it behind me.

“I’m just glad to be in this position, but it will be tough getting back into the side.

“Obviously I want to be playing, it’s the same as the rest of the boys, but it’s better having big competition for places.

“It makes everyone up their game. We have the best midfield players in the League all competing for three spots. It means everybody must be at the top of their game or someone else will come on for the shirt.”

Even though Palmer was ruled out for much of last term, Blues boss David Healy still offered him a contract extension.

“It was a boost for me, especially the way things worked out,” he explains.

“When you are out or a long time, it can be tough. You tend to feel quite isolated.

“You feel you not part of things. But the manager, the staff and players were great with me. They kept me involved. The manager kept me involved which was really important for me. I was really looked after.”

Palmer is under no illusions as the Blues put their title on the line for the fifth successive season.

He goes on: “The League has improved greatly in recent years. There are now a lot of quality sides in the League.

“Cliftonville pushed us all the way last season and I’m sure they’ll be wanting to do the same, along with a few other clubs.

“Every team has improved. People keep talking about Larne and Glentoran, but Ballymena United have improved their squad. We know what we are facing, but we are even more confident than last season.

“I think we have more quality in the squad this season. We lost a lot of people last season — Haughey, Stafford, Waterworth, Lavery, Cooper — and I don’t think a lot of people thought we would be in the running for the title because of the number of players that went out the door. They were key players, not squad players.

“It was always going to be tough to replace those guys, but we still had a strong core of boys in the dressing room — players that had been here and done it all before.

“They knew how to win games of football and how to win Leagues. The gaffer has made some quality signings over the summer, so hopefully that will help us go form strength to strength this season.”


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