Pressure is off us now says Linfield boss Warren Feeney

Linfield manager Warren Feeney
Linfield manager Warren Feeney

Linfield manager Warren Feeney believes the pressure is off his team approaching their final four games of the Danske Premiership campaign.

The Blues were given a glimmer of home following their midweek (2-1) win over Belfast rivals Glentoran at the Oval.

And, just to add a little extra spice to the final few games, Stephen Baxter’s ‘champions in waiting’ slumped to a shock defeat at Portadown.

With Windsor Park now out of bounds due to the West Stand controversy, Linfield will play their remaining four league games away from home and they roll out the welcome mat to high-flying Glenavon at the Ballymena Showgrounds to begin that final sequence.

“We started the season with five games away from home and finish with five also away from Windsor Park,” said Feeney. “It’s going to be tough.

“But even at Windsor it’s tough due to the psychological pressures of playing at home.

“And, if I’m being honest, the entire place has changed because there is nowhere to park your car and we are basically living in a building site.

“We’ve trained at eight different venues this season, which doesn’t help. So, I can’t praise the boys enough, full credit to them.

“At the end of the day, our motto is ‘fortune favours the brave’ and the boys have just got on with it. We are going to finish the season away from home, but that takes the pressure off us.”

Feeney is under no illusions of the threat high flying Glenavon will pose on Saturday.

They are the league’s in form side, having won their last five games on the bounce.

And, their victory over Cliftonville last time out - they won 5-0 - would suggest the Blues will require their best form if they are to hang on to the tails of Crusaders.

“I know Gary (Hamilton), Windy (Paul Millar) and Nigel (Law), has them firing at the minute,” added Feeney. “I think they now have five wins on the spin.

“But all I can do is worry about my club. We’ll go into the game full of confidence after the win at the Oval.

“It’s still a big ask. All I can do is worry about Linfield Football Club. The pressure is off us. The title is still in Crusaders hands. We have just got to concentrate on Saturday which is now a massive game for us.”

Glenavon coach Nigel Law labelled his team’s victory over Cliftonville as ‘the best since Gary Hamilton took over the managerial reins’.

“It was the complete performance in many ways,” he said. “We were superb, with and without the ball from start to finish.

“The result took us to joint third in the table with Cliftonville and Portadown, although they have a better goal average. At the outset we challenged to players to finish in the top six.

“But now we have reassessed the situation. There is now a great belief in the squad. The boys now feel they can become a top side.

“When you are beating teams of the calibre of Glentoran (4-0) and Cliftonville (5-0), the confidence levels soar.

“They now want to book that European place and they would deserve it for all they hard work they have put in all season.”