Aaron Burns believes Linfield will be a force to be reckoned with next season – and an Irish Cup win on Saturday would rubberstamp their credentials.
The Blues enjoyed an impressive finish to the season, losing just two of their final 20 Premiership fixtures.
Despite the solid run of form, David Healy’s men could only finish second to Crusaders in the title race.
But they could end their campaign on a high note if they can beat Glenavon in the Irish Cup final.
And Burns believes it would be a statement of intent from Linfield as they look to the future.
“We had a rough month of November, but since then we have proved what we are capable of,” Burns said.
“I think we were the best team in the Premiership from about January on, but at the end of the day it wasn’t good enough.
“You can’t afford a month like November when we lost four games on the bounce, and that cost us in the end.
“But I think we are heading in the right direction.”
Burns was an unused substitute when Linfield defeated Portadown to win the Irish Cup in 2010.
He hopes to earn more game time on Saturday afternoon.
“I was a young lad back then, but I am older and a better player now,” he added.
“I would love to start on Saturday, but I will be ready for whatever is needed.”