Linfield boss David Healy is relishing the fresh challenge of facing Larne at Windsor Park off the back of a return to the club’s winning form.
The defending Danske Bank Premiership champions tackle last season’s second-tier title-winners bolstered by midweek success over Ballymena United.
That victory arrived off the back of a loss to Glenavon - but Healy hits the weekend schedule drawing confidence from the positive response.
“I was pleased with the attitude of the players at a really difficult place,” said Healy on the club’s official website. “I asked the players to be better than what they were on Friday.
“We are still in and around where we need to be...with a lot of points to be played for.
“I had a go at the players on Friday...then (on Tuesday) I made the statement how it might benefit us a little bit more coming away with a 2-1 win, it builds confidence we can see it out.
“Once we have everybody to chose from there will be more options to make changes.
“Saturday will be another test, I’ve seen Larne numerous times this year, they have been the talk of Northern Ireland the last couple of years.
“They’ll look forward to coming to Windsor.
“They’ve huge experience, players from a higher level in England and experience of our top flight, so we are expecting a tough game.
“It’s not going to get to January or February with someone eight, nine or 10 points clear.
“Getting into the nitty-gritty of the New Year, we know we’ve been over the course and distance, so hopefully we can push these other teams to the limits and see where that takes us.”
Albert Watson, a former Linfield player, will be making a return to Windsor Park with Larne following last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Cliftonville.
“It’s a massive game, like every one in this division,” said Watson on the official club website. “There are no easy games and this is probably the year it has been the best challenge.
“We are under no illusions how good Linfield are but also how good we can be.
“We will go to try and play our game to get the three points.
“In the second half (against Cliftonville) we were pushing for the win...it’s testament to the boys.
“We need to get that killer goal to get the win...we’ve made great runs to get into positions so it’s just been unlucky.
“On another day we will get that goal, it’s about keeping positive.”