Linfield manager David Jeffrey preparing for new challenge

David Jeffrey
Linfield manager David Jeffrey

Linfield boss David Jeffrey says he is already planning for next season as his side prepare to take on Ballinamallard.

"It hasn't been a good year but I am already looking ahead to next season. We very much have an eye on the future.

"I want people who are willing to put their hands up and say they are ready for the next challenge," said Jeffrey.

"If you are not ready for the next challenge there is no room for you at Windsor Park. It's been tough but we have to do something about it."

"We want to be the best that we can be and third place is still within our grasp, that's what our target is."

Mallards manager Whitey Anderson bemoaned his side's inability to find the net regularly in recent months.

"We have the fourth best defensive record in the league, but we have stopped scoring goals," said Anderson.

"We have young lads coming through the system and there is a lot to build on for next season.

"We need to get a balance between players coming through internally and one or two areas where we need to strengthen.

"It's not just about the strikers, we need to start scoring from different areas of the pitch."

Cliftonville players are competing for places in their club's Irish Cup final squad when they take on Coleraine at Ballycastle Road.

"We are now into the final few games and it is easy for players to take their foot off the pedal," commented Bannsiders' manager Oran Kearney.

"It's our last home fixture of the season, so we want to put on a show for our fans."

Ballymena play Glenavon at the Showgrounds and Sky Blues boss Glenn Ferguson has the simple aim of "picking up as many points as possible".

"If we catch Portadown and take seventh position, then well and good, but our primary objective is to reach and improve on last year's points tally. That would represent progression," said Ferguson.

Dungannon play relegated Lisburn Distillery at New Grosvenor, with Swifts manager Darren Murphy warning that changes to the Premiership structure have to be made.

"There are four teams in the bottom half of the league with nothing to play for and that is not good.

"All the managers have agreed that they are not fans of the split and something needs to be done quickly. The league is just petering out," warned Murphy.

Elsewhere, Donegal Celtic host Portadown and second-placed Crusaders entertain Glentoran, who are looking to secure fourth place, two positions better than their finish last year.

Crues boss Stephen Baxter said he was "really pleased" with how his team had performed during the campaign.

"We are getting stronger and if we continue to show the same passion and desire, we can continue to improve.

"There has not been a lot between us and Cliftonville and our consistency has been great.

"We must try to take the disappointment of finishing second and use that to galvanise ourselves to give it another really good go next season.

"There's no pressure on us now, I'm just asking the players to go and relax, play football, pass the ball and enjoy it."

Irish Premiership - Saturday 20 April - 15:00 BST kick-offs

Ballymena United v Glenavon

Coleraine v Cliftonville

Crusaders v Glentoran

Donegal Celtic v Portadown

Linfield v Ballinamallard Utd

Lisburn Distillery v Dungannon Swifts

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