IRISH LEAGUE: Mitchell desperate to deliver for Dungannon

Andrew Mitchell is keen to continue his fine form before leaving Stangmore Park this summer.

Picture by Peter Morrison/Press Eye
Andrew Mitchell is keen to continue his fine form before leaving Stangmore Park this summer. Picture by Peter Morrison/Press Eye
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Andrew Mitchell is desperate to deliver for Dungannon before his summertime departure.

With his pre-contract agreement at Glenavon signed, sealed and delivered, the 22 year-old is keen to assure his current club that his eye won’t be tempted off the ball.

Far from it - his determination to make it a landmark season at Stangmore is greater than ever.

“I love playing for Dungannon Swifts and I will continue to do so until the end of the season,” he said. “I will be leaving the club with a heavy heart. It’s a great club with great people and I will be doing my utmost to ensure they finish as high up the table as possible.

“I want to leave Dungannon with a parting gift by getting into the top six, Europe or even getting an Irish Cup under their belt.”

Mitchell is the Danske Bank Premiership’s top scorer with 19 league goals to his name so far this term. Understandably then, with his Dungannon contract ticking towards its end date this summer, Mitchell’s next stop was a hot topic around the league.

And, in a strange twist of fate, this weekend he will come face to face with the club whose advances he turned down just days ago in favour of his boyhood Glenavon as Linfield arrive at Stangmore Park.

“Linfield is a massive club,” said the Waringstown native. “They are going to provide a very stern test for us this weekend. They beat us 4-0 earlier in the season. They played us off the park but I don’t think it will be the same this time round. We need to pick up results to keep pushing for the top six. It’s going to be an interesting game and hopefully we can get the win.”

Dungannon certainly can’t boast a good record against the Blues. They’ve won just one of the last 19 league meetings, with Linfield victorious in all of their last four visits to Stangmore Park.

Nonetheless, Linfield boss David Healy is wary of the threat posed by Mitchell and his Swifts team-mates.
“Andrew has had a good season so far but he hasn’t scored against us so far this season so hopefully that remains the same after Saturday,” he said.

“They have good players all over the pitch and Rodney (McAree) has got them in good form.”

Mitchell has netted nine goals in nine appearances since Linfield’s 4-0 hammering at Stangmore but Healy’s side have an on-form forward of their own in captain Andy Waterworth.

“He has three in his last four but he’s not just doing it at the minute, he’s been doing it for years,” said the boss. “He leads from the front and when he doesn’t score, he’s disappointed. He’s a young, aspiring coach and he understands the game.”

Linfield are still seven points adrift of league leaders Crusaders but Dungannon too, are facing a chase as they hunt down Glenavon in their bid to make the top six.

“The football that we play is brilliant,” said Mitchell. “We play out from the back and we’re all confident on the ball. That’s down to Rod instilling it in us not to be afraid to make mistake. If you’re going to challenge, you have to take those gambles.”