Linfield skipper Michael Gault insists there will be no ‘let-up’ even though his team’s trophy chances have all but disintegrated this season!
Their final hope of silverware hit the buffers in midweek when they crashed to a 4-1 defeat to Shamrock Rovers at the Tallagh Stadium in the Setanta Cup, making next week’s return fixture a mere formality.
David Jeffrey’s boys roll out the welcome mat for basement side Lisburn Distiller at Windsor Park on Saturday – but the Premier League strugglers can expect no further favours.
“It was a disappointing result in midweek,” said Gault, who was suspended for the Setanta fixture.
“We shot ourselves in the foot in many ways. We were punished for defensive errors.
“But it was one of those nights. We even missed a penalty kick right at the end. The reality is we have a mountain to climb next week at Windsor.
“We’ll certainly not be giving it up, we’ll be going full pelt to win it.”
Gault has been steeped in the Blues’ success in recent years, being a member of the squad that has won six doubles and the ‘clean sweep’ back in 2005.
He adds: “It’s certainly a strange feeling, having nothing to aim for in terms of trophies, especially at this stage of the season.
“It happened in my first season at the club. We finished in fourth position in the league and made an early exit in the Irish Cup. Since then it has been unbelievable.
“But no team has the divine right to win every game. It’s been disappointing, but it just could be the kick up the backside we need. We must come back bigger and stronger next season.”
Although it will take a minor miracle for Premier League table toppers Cliftonville to blow up at this stage, Gault insists ‘second place’ is now on his team’s radar.
“That has to be our goal,” he adds.
“Everyone at the club has a big incentive. The boss always says that trophies win contracts.
“Well, it doesn’t look as thought we’ll have any this season, which puts even more pressure on guys looking for a new contract in May.
“It’s difficult enough when you are winning doubles, but the pressure is now on for everyone who wants to stay at the club, so there is still a lot to play for.”
Gault insists it is vital that the Blues pick up three points today.
“Nothing else will be acceptable,” he adds.
“We can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves. The Whites are fighting for their lives and have put together a few decent results lately.
“They forced a draw in the cup against Crusaders last weekend, few teams leave there with any satisfaction.
“And, they held us to a draw at New Grosvenor earlier in the season. We know we’ll have to be at our best to get the points.”
Defender Johnny Black is still missing from the Blues squad, but striker Matthew Tipton could return, having recovered from a hamstring injury.