DAVID Jeffrey is hoping his players can deliver the “perfect birthday present” by claiming maximum points against Portadown on Saturday afternoon.
Jeffrey – who turns 50 on Sunday – was treated to a surprise party at Windsor Park on Thursday night following first team training.
Linfield’s backroom staff and players presented their esteemed boss with a cake and some gifts.
Jeffrey will be hoping the celebrations don’t go flat when the Ports roll into South Belfast on Saturday.
The Blues chief is in desperate need of a welcome tonic following Monday night’s 3-2 defeat to Coleraine.
The result leaves the champions 11 points behind Premiership leaders Cliftonville – and keeps them wedged in the bottom half of the table.
It has been a season of toil and labour for the Windsor giants, but Jeffrey is confident the tide will turn – starting with victory this afternoon.
“I have to thank Gary Eccles (kit manager), the backroom staff and players for the surprise birthday party on Thursday night,” Jeffrey said.
“It is was a very kind gesture, and their generosity was overwhelming. That’s what makes this club special.
“But of course the best present would be a victory and three points against Portadown on Saturday.
“That is our full focus.”
Monday night’s defeat to Coleraine was compounded by what appeared to be a stonewall penalty being denied by referee Raymond Crangle.
Jeffrey believes his side has been on the end of some harsh decisions this season, but has urged his players to “keep believing” as they target a seventh Gibson Cup in eight seasons.
“I’ve told the players to keep being positive,” he added.
“There’s a good mood in the camp.”
Meanwhile, Ports boss Ronnie McFall has predicted a Linfield backlash on Saturday.
“Linfield are wounded at the moment and that’s when they are at their most dangerous,” he said.
“I know David will be frustrated and he and his players will be determined to respond.
“Windsor is always a difficult place to go.”