COUNTY ANTRIM SHIELD SEMI-FINAL: WE FACE A BIG TEST AGAINST REDS, SAY LINFIELD BOSS

Linfield manager David Jeffrey says he is under no illusion about the game against Cliftonville on Tuesday night

Linfield manager David Jeffrey says he is under no illusion about the game against Cliftonville on Tuesday night

WINDSOR Park will host the first of two semi-finals of the County Antrim Shield on Tuesday night (kick off 7.45 pm).

And Linfield boss David Jeffrey knows his team face a tough test against opponents and current Danske Bank Irish Premier League champions Cliftonville.

“Cliftonville are an excellent side,” ‘Big Davy’ told LinfieldFC. com website on Monday evening..

“Last year they were the outstanding side and to me they are actually a stronger side this year than they were last year.

“I think they strengthened very, very well, in particular in bringing in the likes of young Curran. They have what they had last year and they’ve added to their squad. Thomas has freshened up the squad and I think they‘re formidable opponents.

“It’s a big, big test.

“Cliftonville and Crusaders who we will face in another cup tie in November have good and well established strong squads, when you compare with the likes of Glentoran and ourselves who are building and putting together squads.

“We’ve undergone massive changes, whereas Crusaders have a very settled squad and are strong in depth. Cliftonville have strength in depth also, whereas Glentoran and ourselves are working hard to push on up there.

“I’ve said it before but the County Antrim Shield is an important trophy for me because it was my first ever medal.

“Last year was trophyless for us and you always talk about being hungry every year but this year that hunger is multiplied massively because of the disappointment we experienced last year.

“We‘ve missed the winning feeling we‘ve enjoyed in previous years and we want to get that feeling back.

“Tuesday will be very tough. Cliftonville have already beaten us 4-2 this season at Windsor Park on a day when our defending was shocking.

“We could have got something out of the game but Cliftonville did very, very well and really showed why they were champions because they capitalised on our mistakes.

“We will not be into rotation or resting. Anybody who doesn’t play on Tuesday will not play because they are not fit and been therefore directed that they shouldn’t play.”

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