IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield’s Kirk Millar ready to pounce on champions Crusaders

Kirk Millar in action against champions Crusaders back in September
Kirk Millar in action against champions Crusaders back in September

Kirk Millar insists Linfield have to be ready to pounce if Crusaders slip up at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Crues hold a significant nine-point advantage over the Blues with 14 games remaining this season.

The margin for error is minimal as far as Linfield’s title hopes are concerned, and Millar is under no illusions as they try to close the gap on the champions.

“All we can do is look after ourselves and keep plugging away,” Millar said.

“Crusaders are obviously in a decent position at the top, but if they do slip up then we have to be ready to capitalise.”

Linfield have recovered from a horrible month of November to keep their title aspirations alive.

David Healy’s men lost all four games during November, but have gone on six-game unbeaten run in the Premiership, including five wins and a draw.

Their only defeat in their last nine games in all competitions was a 3-2 reverse to Ballymena United in the County Antrim Shield final.

“November was a bit of a nightmare for us. We dropped a lot of points,” Millar added.

“But we have rallied and gone on a decent run. Apart from the Shield final, we have shown great character and belief and we have to keep showing that in the weeks and months ahead.

“We have built some momentum in the league and kicked on, so hopefully we can keep building.”

Millar has impressed for the Blues this season, a run of form that has been recognised with a new two-year contract extension which he signed this week.

The 23-year-old praises manager Healy for his confident displays this season.

“The gaffer has given me a lot of confidence and I feel I’ve adapted to what he wants from me,” he said.

“He has shown a lot of faith in me. I’ve played nearly every game under him and it’s great to get a run in the team.

“This season is probably the first I’ve had a proper run of football. This is my second year at the club and last season was tough coming back from England and trying to adjust to the league, but I feel I’m settling in well now.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s visit of Carrick Rangers to Windsor Park, Millar added: “We have to treat every game the same. Carrick drew 1-1 at our place earlier in the season, so we can’t take anything for granted.”