IRISH LEAGUE: Stephen Lowry preparing for pivotal month for Linfield

Stephen Lowry (right) battles with Gavin Whyte during September's 3-0 defeat to Crusaders at Seaview
Stephen Lowry (right) battles with Gavin Whyte during September's 3-0 defeat to Crusaders at Seaview

Midfielder Stephen Lowry believes November could prove a crucial month in Linfield’s season.

The Blues sit second in the Danske Bank Premiership, only being denied the top spot by Crusaders on goal difference.

Lowry and Linfield are preparing to face the champions at Windsor Park on Saturday, followed by league tests against Cliftonville, Glenavon and Portadown.

It is a crunch month that could leave Linfield in a healthy position at the top of the table – or playing catch-up on their rivals.

“It is a big month for us, with some massive games – but we can’t wait for them,” Lowry said.

“If we can get a result against Crusaders it will really set us up for the rest of the month.

“We know a good month of November will set us up for the busy festive period. We are sitting nicely at the top end of the table at the minute, but we have to push on.

“The squad is in a good place at present, and we are enjoying working with David (Healy).

“What we don’t want is to allow Crusaders to stretch away at the top. We want to cement our place at the top and stay there for as long as we can.”

Linfield’s only league defeat this season came against the Crues back on September 12 when the champions eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Seaview with goals from Jordan Owens (2) and Paul Heatley.

The scoreline was flattering for the Blues, such was the dominance of the Stephen Baxter’s men on the Shore Road.

Midfielder Lowry readily accepts Linfield were outplayed, and insists the Blues are hungry to set the record straight in Saturday’s renewal.

“Crusaders taught us a bit of a lesson in the last league game. We didn’t turn up and it is the only time we have been outplayed this season,” he added.

“We were in the game until we conceded the first goal, and we unravelled from there.

“We owe them one after the Seaview defeat. We know we can play much better than that and we have to prove that.

“Our fans haven’t had the bragging rights over Crusaders for a while now. We want to win for them.

“Crusaders will be confident, but we have to take the game to them at Windsor. The pitch suits our style of football so we have to impose ourselves on Crusaders.

“We know their strengths and who their key players are. We have to try and silence them, and if we do that then we can get a positive result.

“We believe in ourselves. We know we have the quality in our squad to go far this season.”

Lowry also believes the arrival of new boss David Healy has generated a buzz at Windsor.

“David has come in and the players have responded,” he said.

“We are buying into his methods and the last two training sessions have been really good.

“There has been a good intensity about them and the players are fired up. So we can’t wait for Saturday and the rest of the big games coming up.”