Linfield manager David Jeffrey admits his team are primed for ‘another battle’ when Dungannon Swifts make the journey to Windsor Park on Saturday.
The Blues hardened their title challenge with a crucial win at Portadown last week - a result that kept the two points in front of Premiership title holders Cliftonville.
Striker Andy Waterworth bagged the goals to keep the Blues at the summit.
With only two games remaining before the ‘split’ Jeffrey has warned his boys that every match is now a ‘cup final’.
He also emphasises that every team in the league ‘raises their game’ when they run out against the boys in blue.
Jeffrey roared: “Having enjoyed title success on a number of occasions, I can honestly say that every game is a battle and a challenge.
“I’ve been telling the players that this championship race is an even bigger challenge for them because it is new to many of them.
“With respect, every team that plays against us raises their game immeasurably, absolutely immeasurably, there is no question about that. Dungannon will be no different this week.
“It means we face a double challenge in many ways. We’ve got to match other teams who raise their game week in, week out, while we must also try to wrestle the title away from Cliftonville. There is a long, long way to go, but we are an immensely strong side.”
Dungannon Swifts manager Darren Murphy admits his team have blown their chances of claiming a spot in the top six, following their 3-2 defeat at Glenavon last weekend.
The former Blues midfielder, however, will travel to Windsor Park in a positive frame of mind.
“We were obviously disappointed to lose to Glenavon last weekend, especially after being two goals up,” he said. “It literally ends any hopes of us making the top six.
“We played well at times and created chances, but at the end of the day, Glenavon just had a bit more firepower that we did.
“It will be another tough game against Linfield. They know they can’t afford any slip-ups with the league about to split in the next couple of weeks. Although we are safe enough, we don’t want to be pulled down into the basement zone for the final few weeks off the season.”