IRISH LEAGUE: Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey enjoying being involved in big games

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey

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Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey had a trophy laden career when he was boss of Linfield.

Jeffrey - who was in charge at Windsor Park from 1997 to 2014 - lifted 31 pieces of silverware in that time with the Blues.

And now as manager of the Sky Blues he could help his old club to the league title if they can beat Crusaders at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

Jeffrey’s men are on a high after Tuesday night’s 4-1 against Cliftonville and the manager is looking forward to the challenge of Stephen Baxter’s Crusaders.

“It’s fantastic, brilliant to be playing in these big games at the end of the season.

“We were involved in one with the game against Linfield last weekend and the ground was packed. Linfield are going for the title and all I wanted on that day was a performance after a poor showing against Glenavon.

“And the players responded again against Cliftonville and their efforts against the Reds were rewarded with the three valuable league points.

“Now Crusaders come to us on Saturday and they have been the stand-out team over the last few years - but this is another opportunity for us to test ourselves and that is what we are looking to do.

“We will just go out on Saturday, give our best and see where that gets us.

“But it is fantastic to be involved in these kinds of games,” he added.

And Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter knows that the game against the Sky Blues will not be an easy affair - but he expects his players to give their all as they attempt to lift the league title three seasons in a row.

“In situations like this you need your big players to stand up - and every one of our boys did that.

“We are now down to two games - all roads now lead to Ballymena for us at the weekend.

“It’s going to be a battle to the finish, but we are prepared to throw the kitchen sink at it to hold on to the title,” added the Crues boss.