Jeffrey focused on victory as he bows out at Windsor Park

Linfield manager David Jeffrey
Linfield manager David Jeffrey

Linfield boss David Jeffrey will take his final bow in front of home fans in today’s intriguing Premiership clash against Glentoran at Windsor Park.

After 17 years of unprecedented success, the big man will pound down the touchline, thumping the club crest on his chest for the final time.

How fittingly the Blues biggest rivals will also be on show for what will undoubtedly be an emotionally charged occasion.

Jeffrey, with 31 trophies in the cabinet, would dearly have loved to go out with the Gibson Cup sitting in the Boardroom, but after last weekend’s draw at home the Portadown, it’s advantage Cliftonville.

Linfield trail the title holders by three points, with only two games remaining. Even the most ardent of Blue men would accept it’s a bridge too far for Jeffrey and his boys.

And, just to crank up the pressure, Jeffrey must attempt to separate the raw emotion of leading out his team for the last time at the international venue - redevelopment will start almost immediately after the final whistle - coupled with the job of picking up full points

“I’ve done that since the Ballinamallard game back in February when I announced my decision to step down,” he said.

“I’ve two games of football to win in my last week here. I’m not going to say it will not be emotional.I’ve been here a long time, From 1982-92 I was player and captain. I returned in March 1996 as assistant manager. I was then appointed boss in January 1997.

“It’s almost 30 years. But I’ve prepared myself for this day. I’ve already cleared my office, that was all done and dusted before last weekend.

“I had a meeting with the players and I told them how we are going to negotiate our way to the end of the season and we are doing it together.

“I told them it’s about football and about Linfield Football Club and it’s about winning games. There will be plenty time for emotion and plenty of time to reflect when it’s all over.

“My only concern is Linfield Football Club. It’s black and white, end of story.

“When I drive in through the gates, my only focus will be getting three points that will hopefully keep us in the title race.

“I’m not trying to be clever or smart, but I’m doing it that way for the good of the club, the players and myself. I don’t want to be running around blubbering all over the place.

“It was a dream come true and a massive privilege and honour to manage this great club and to be able to play my part in helping to bring so many trophies to this wonderful institution over such a long but hugely enjoyable part of my life”

Jeffrey acknowledges that form goes out of the window with the clubs meet and he expects a similar theme today.

“It’s a Big Two game,” he added.

“Glentoran will be coming here to get three points, make no mistake about that.

“Although we were all gutted and disappointed with the weekend result, we are certainly not giving up on this title race in any shape or form. Anything can happen in the last two games. We must keep believing.”

Midfielder Jamie Mulgrew returns from suspension and he will be added to the squad that faltered against the Ports at the weekend.

“Jamie will be back, but we’ll be missing Niall Quinn and Ivan Sproule,” added Jeffrey.

“After the Portadown game, I told the boys to go away and relax and enjoy their Easter weekend, but to remain disciplined and focused.

“I expect them to report mentally prepared and up for the fight as much as I am.”

Meanwhile, Glentoran will be missing striker Curtis Allen, who was dismissed in his team’s thumping 3-0 win over Crusaders at the weekend.