Carrick Rangers boss Niall Currie is adopting a familiar approach to what will prove a fresh experience for many of his players this weekend at Windsor Park.
Promoted out of last season’s Bluefin Sport Championship, Rangers sit ninth on 12 points from as many top-flight appearances.
Saturday’s test marks the latest senior adventure and Currie accepts the reality of the task but appreciates the value of games for his players as they adjust to life at the top table.
“We want to give a good account of ourselves but know that Linfield will have to have a bad day at the office and we will have to be at our very best to get anything out of the game,” said Currie. “But that’s nothing new for us and I have great belief in this group.
“They have represented the club magnificently from the moment they have arrived.
“We go there to enjoy the day, we have had two great results so our spirits are high.
“We understand the magnitude of what we are facing and quality that a massive club like Linfield have - let’s be honest, they are expected to thump us.
“It will be a great experience for a lot of our inexperienced players at this level, which will only make them better.”
Having gained one successful midweek stride forward as League Cup holders with a 1-0 defeat of Cliftonville, Linfield’s pursuit of back-to-back league titles continues against Carrick.
“It’s the next biggest game so we look forward to it,” said Linfield boss David Healy on the official club website. “Carrick have done okay so far this season and got a morale-boosting win last week.
“Niall Currie’s teams make life difficult for you every time you come up against them.
“They play at a good tempo and with 100 per cent commitment, so I’m expecting nothing different.
“We’ve always tried to build our success here on clean sheets.
“They (Cliftonville) scored five goals on Saturday and Joe Gormley’s coming off the back of a hat-trick
“The back four changed slightly with no Mark Stafford and Ryan McGivern going off.
“The pleasing thing was Josh Robinson back on the bench and we didn’t think he would play as long as he did tonight but seems to have come through okay.
“He was a big player for us last year so it gives you a bit of a headache.
“Hopefully Ryan’s okay, Shayne Lavery came off injured and Jamie Mulgrew limped off so they’ll be assessed to see if fit and available for Carrick.”