Linfield boss Warren Feeney admits there will be no margin for error when he takes his boys to Mourneview Park tomorrow to face in-form Glenavon.
With six games of an intriguing Danske Premiership title race remaining, the Blues trail table-topping Crusaders by six points.
Feeney’s troops have got back on track following a shattering double defeat by Portadown – in the league and Irish Cup – with wins against the two bottom clubs, Warrenpoint Town and Institute.
But their title credentials will be scrutinised by Gary Hamilton’s Lurgan Blues, who have enjoyed wins over Ballinamallard United and Cliftonville in their last two outings.
“There are 18 points to play for – and that will be our aim,” said Feeney “Yes, we are six points behind Crusaders, but there is still a long, long way to go.
“All the pressure is on Crusaders, there is no question about that. They have got to win all their games because we’ll be right up there behind them if there are any slip-ups.
“We are now counting down the games and I’ve urged the boys to win them all to see where it takes us. We have to make sure we keep the pressure right on them.
“There will be more twists and turns going when the league does eventually split. We have got to make sure we are in there.
“We’ve now had two clean sheets, which is pleasing. You get into good habits when you defend well. That’s what we’ll be striving to do for the rest of the campaign.
“We’ve had a two week break, but we are now looking forward to getting back. The players have worked their socks off over the past two games. It’s a matter of getting the momentum going again. We’ll be well prepared for the trip to Glenavon.”
Skipper Jamie Mulgrew will be missing due to suspension while Feeney is sweating on the fitness of defender Glenn Belezika, who sustained a groin injury in his team’s win at Institute last time out. The big Londoner is on loan at the Blues from Stockport until the end of the season.
“We’ll not be taking any risks with Glenn,” said Feeney. “On the plus side Mark Haughey has played a few games for the Swifts and is on his way back along with Peter Thompson. Ivan Sproule is also nearing full fitness... he is flying at the minute.
“It will be good having those boys available as we are coming in to a really important time of the season. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves – we’ll need all of them.”
Feeney insists the Linfield fans can also play a big part over the remaining six matches.
“We had a fantastic support in our last game up at Londonderry,” he added. “We need those fans to come out and give us the same backing at Glenavon.
“We are trying to do something at this football club and we need them with us.
“We won 1-0 at Institute and the fans played a massive part in that – it was a test of character, but the boys showed their hunger and desire. We’ll need that support again at Mourneview.”