IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield’s Aaron Burns wants to end season on a high

Aaron Burns
Aaron Burns

Linfield midfielder Aaron Burns believes his team can end the season on a high.

It's four years since the Danske Premiership trophy has taken up residence at Windsor Park, but Burns and his team mates are determined to change the trend.

However, their title credentials will again be scrutinised when they make the short journey across town tomorrow to face a Clitonville side whose hopes of regaining the Gibson Cup have evaporated in recent weeks.

Linfield are still playing catch-up, as they trail table topping Crusaders by give points, but Burns insists that ‘gap’ can be cut even further.

“There is loads to play for,” he states. “We still have eight league games remaining and there is only a few points between ourselves and Crusaders.

“We’ve really got a bit of momentum going. The boys are showing up for the big games and that’s what is required if you are going to push for trophies . . . and keep the pressure on Crusaders.

"They dropped points last week which was a little bonus for us. It’s still in their hands, but if we keep winning, it will ask a few questions of them.”

The 24 year old Burns stressed that it is crucial for his team to return from Solitude with three points.

He added: “We’ll be going there under no illusions . . . Cliftonville are a fantastic side. The gaffer will have a game plan. We’ll go there to try and get another three points. The boys are always full of confidence.

“Crusaders are still in pole position, but we must look after ourselves and focus on what we have to do to pick up points.

“The fans can play a big part. They really have been our 12th man, not only over the past few weeks, but for the entire season. It’s good that we were able to repay them with a few good wins of late.”

Burns, who has been at the club since he was 10 years of age, believes victory would light the touch paper for a big finish to the campaign.

“We have vital league games looming, starting with Cliftonville and we also have a big Irish Cup semi final against Lurgan Celtic coming up.," he added.

“Make no mistake about it, we’ll be giving them our full respect, but we really want to get into that final. So we have a big end of the season to look forward to.

“We have a massive squad and everyone is fit and ready to go. Everyone wants to play at this time of the season.

“It has to be like that at Linfield . . . it keeps everyone fresh and on their toes.”

The last flickering flames of Cliftonville's title aspirations were extinguished last weekend when they were held to a draw by relegation threatened Dungannon Swifts.

Gerard Lyttle's boys are now a whopping 10 points behind Crusaders -- and five adrift of the Blues.

It means the Reds must now realistically focus on second place, which guarantees automatic European qualification.

Anything less means they will be forced to negotiate the Euro qualifying games, that have been introduced this season.

Cliftonville will be without the suspended David McDaid, who was dismissed last week against the Swifts.