IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield’s Andy Waterworth aware every point vital ahead of visit by ambitious Warrenpoint Town

Andy Waterworth. Pic by INPHO.
Andy Waterworth. Pic by INPHO.

Andy Waterworth’s Irish League career has been defined - like any striker - by the small margins that make the difference between the big rewards.

The forward has battled back from injury this season but can draw inspiration from a proven track record of finding the net, notably with hat-tricks to secure Linfield both the Danske Bank Premiership title and Irish Cup.

With yards one side of a white line or the other dictating success or failure on the scoresheet, Waterworth is familiar with the high stakes within the game.

And the striker is hoping past experience can help Linfield maximise those minor details towards a successful defence of the prizes picked up last season.

A visit by Warrenpoint - the Championship champions last season who sit 24 points off fifth-placed Linfield - marks another afternoon in which small margins could prove key irrespective of the standings.

“We know from last season how important momentum can be, especially after Christmas,” said Waterworth. “With Coleraine and Crusaders both adding points last weekend by playing when everyone else was postponed it only adds to the importance of every single game.

“We are chasing down sides above us and need to make up ground in the knowledge that any potential defeats could throw us out of contention.

“We managed to get those wins when it mattered last season and, although not great, have found recently that ability to grind out results.

“It comes down to everyone having the desire required and a squad capable of anyone coming in to make an impact.

“It is going to need that in every match and this weekend we face Warrenpoint, who are a good footballing side and every game calls for complete commitment.”

Former Linfield striker Matthew Town will take his Warrenpoint Town side to Windsor Park this weekend without any fear of facing the defending league champions on home soil.

The Town boss and a number of his players have past connections to Linfield and Tipton is keen to embrace the occasion rather than approach in a negative mindset what appears on paper a daunting trip for a side with just three wins this season from 19 games.

“Over the past year or so we have worked hard to develop a style of play that suits the players we want at the club and it would be daft to try and change that for any one fixture,” said Tipton. “It is not just about sticking to one approach over another, it is about looking at my players and thinking what gives us the best chance of a result against Linfield, or anyone else.

“We would not be set up to go out with a defensive approach, sit deep for 90 minutes and hope for a point that way or to even edge a goal off a set-piece.

“Our strengths remain going forward and playing with that attacking view, obviously within a tactical plan.

“The bottom line is, last season as manager of Warrenpoint in the Championship I would think of managing a side in big games like away to Linfield and use that as motivation.

“It helped drive me on and it is the same for our players who have either never been at this level before or looking to prove something.

“We have a number of former Linfield players or people with Premiership experience so we should not go to Windsor Park or any ground showing fear of the occasion.

“These games should inspire everyone.”