NI League Cup: 'We owe ourselves one after Coleraine defeat' - Blues boss Healy

Linfield and Cliftonville meet in the League Cup just two weeks after their County Antrim Shield encounter
Linfield and Cliftonville meet in the League Cup just two weeks after their County Antrim Shield encounter

Linfield boss David Healy has called for a positive response to Saturday's defeat by Coleraine in Tuesday's League Cup quarter-final with Cliftonville.

The Blues hope to bounce back from a third league loss of the season when they host the Reds at Windsor Park.

However, while Healy is not dwelling on his side's County Antrim Shield defeat by Cliftonville two weeks ago, he wants to see a positive reaction to Saturday.

"We owe ourselves one after Saturday," said Healy.

"It's a game we'd love to progress in. Cliftonville beat us in the County Antrim Shield when they came and played well at Windsor Park.

"They're in good form, second in the league, so it should be a tough game."

Healy, who led Linfield to League Cup success last season, hopes to have 'one or two' players back fit for Tuesday clash having been disappointed by his side's 'lack of cutting edge' at the Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday.

"The County Antrim Shield has been and gone, so we'll refresh, we'll have a look at what bodies we have and assess."

The last-eight clash comes just a fortnight after Cliftonville dumped Linfield out of the County Antrim Shield on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw at Windsor Park.

'Keeping momentum going vital' - McLaughlin

Since then, the Reds have impressed in comfortable victories over Institute and Dungannon Swifts, making it six wins in a row in all competitions for Paddy McLaughlin's side.

However, having dispatched the Swifts 5-0 at Solitude on Saturday, McLaughlin says it's 'vital' his players keep the momentum going after a productive October which has seen them move up into second place in the Irish Premiership table.

"We go into the game with good momentum against a side of Linfield's quality," said the former Institute boss.

"They'll be disappointed with their defeat at Coleraine, but it's a cup competition and they'll want to win it as much as we do - it'll be a competitive game on the back of a few good results for us."

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Cliftonville beat Linfield in a penalty shootout to reach Shield semi-finals

Given the intensity of the fixture schedule, McLaughlin says he will use Tuesday's trip to Windsor to rotate his squad.

"It's an opportunity to rotate a couple of players around," he added.

"Two games in a week is a lot to ask, especially at the intensity we've been playing, but we'll dust ourselves down and see what we've got."

Elsewhere, Ballymena United and Crusaders prepare for the climactic chapter of their October trilogy having faced each other in the league and County Antrim Shield this month.

The Sky Blues have had the better of the last two meetings, edging the Crues in their Shield shootout three days after earning a 1-1 draw in the league encounter at the Showgrounds.

Newry City, who knocked Glenavon out of the last round, face Institute while Dundela meet Coleraine at Wilgar Park for a place in the last four.

League Cup (All matches kick-off at 19:45 GMT)
Ballymena UnitedvCrusaders
LinfieldvCliftonville
Newry CityvInstitute
DundelavColeraine

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