Linfield striker Andy Waterworth insists that every game is now a cup final for David Healy’s team.
The Blues, still on a high following their impressive Irish Cup success last week against Cliftonville, entertain Belfast rivals Glentoran at Windsor Park on Saturday, knowing nothing other than a victory will be good enough to keep their Danske Bank Premiership hopes alive.
Although they remain seven points behind table topping Crusaders, the Gibson Cup is very much on the radar of Healy’s boys.
“We have got to the stage of the season that every game is massive – they are all cup finals,” said Waterworth.
“And, we know there are no easy matches in this league.
“The Glens will come to Windsor Park determined to upset the apple cart and put a spoke in our recent form.
“It’s another local derby game, but it can’t come soon enough for us. We are on a nice little run. The boys are playing well – they are oozing with confidence. The gaffer and the coaches have been brilliant behind the scenes in terms of their preparation.
“We have a big competitive squad, so it’s a real battle to get into the starting eleven.
“It we can keep everyone fit, you never know where it takes us.
“We are still chasing Crusaders in the title run in – it’s not done and dusted yet. We also know there are teams determined to make up ground on us.
“This Big Two clash comes hot on the heels of last weekend’s derby against the Reds –but those of the type of games you love to be involved in.”
Waterworth insists the Blues can build on last week’s cup success across town at Solitude.
He added: “We were thrilled with the performance. It had been coming. Our record hasn’t been great up there – four years since our last win. So it was about time we had a bit of joy. I thought it was a very professional job – everyone played a part, especially goalkeeper Gareth Deane, who came in for a rare first team appearance.”