Northern Ireland’s Linfield, who lost to Celtic in the Champions League qualifiers early on this season, travel to face Dundee United on Saturday in the Irn-Bru Cup… but David Healy’s men aren’t underestimating their Scottish Championship opponents
With the Windsor Park side being dumped out of the competition after only one fixture last season against Queen of the South, the Blues will be hoping for better luck at Tannadice this weekend.
“We will need to see what happens on Saturday,” says captain Jamie Mulgrew. “It is an uphill challenge and difficult match for us on Saturday, but, we will be taking the match serious and will be wanting to win the game. I think the evidence is there to see [that Dundee United are favourites] I think it would be very foolish and unrealistic of me to say they weren’t. They are full-time; the level they play at compared to what we play at is night and day and they are certainly favourites this weekend. It is something they will know themselves, I am sure, that they are expected to win the match; I just hope come Saturday, we make a good account of ourselves as, the longer the game goes on in football, you just never know what can happen.”
“Linfield are a big club over here in Northern Ireland and our fans will be going over to Scotland hoping our club can get through to the next round,” explains Stephen Lowry, who scored the winner in the previous round against Spartans. “We are playing quite well at the minute and results have been pretty good so, I think, if we can keep that kind of form up, then we will be okay on Saturday.”
With Roy Carroll away on international duty, it’ll be understudy Gareth Deane who will be between the sticks against the Arabs but this doesn’t faze neither player.
“I think we will be alright. We have a pretty big squad,” emphasises Lowry. “The manager has signed a few more players which has added to our squad and I felt we played good last night [Tuesday – in the Irish Cup away to Ballinamallard] which can only help our confidence so we will be ready and raring to go on Saturday.”
“It was a good game for us to have prior to the Dundee United match,” says Northern Irish capped Mulgrew. “It was good to get Saturday’s result out of our system and get back in the groove again. We have a big squad so when we do have players missing, we have the same quality to come in and replace them.”