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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Gareth Fullerton

Glentoran derby is a game 'Linfield can't afford to lose'

Gerard Lyttle believes Friday night's Big Two derby is a game Linfield "can't afford to lose".

The Blues trail Glentoran by six points heading into the massive showdown at Windsor Park (7.45pm kick-off).

While David Healy's side have struggled to build momentum in the Premiership this season, Mick McDermott's Glens have barely put a foot wrong.

Read more: Linfield vs Glentoran TV and live stream info for Friday's derby

They remain unbeaten across all competitions and have conceded just one goal in seven league outings.

A win in South Belfast tonight would be another major marker for McDermott's side, but a win for Linfield would be a huge tonic for Healy's players as they look to climb the table.

Northern Ireland Under 19 and 17 manager Lyttle told Belfast Live's That's What I Call Football podcast: "They are two outstanding teams with outstanding players who have consistently been the best players in the league for the past number of years.

"Players like Conor McMenamin, Robbie McDaid, Jay Donnelly, Joel Cooper - you could go through a whole starting XI.

"You don't know what you will get from these games. Sometimes we have seen these games be a bore draw, like last week's North Belfast derby.

"Or you can see two teams going hammer and tongs and going for it. It can be feisty and it is a hard one to call.

"I just think it is a game Linfield can't afford to lose. There is massive pressure on them to get three points.

"And the start Glentoran have had...they have momentum at the minute. They are scoring goals and not conceding.

"It will be an exciting game and I don't know which way it will go. I will sit on the fence with that one."

Lyttle believes Tuesday's Co Antrim Shield win over Cliftonville will have buoyed Healy and his players heading into tonight's derby.

They emerged from Solitude with a penalty shootout success to progress to the semi-finals of the competition - where they will meet the Glens.

"I think winning that Shield game will give them a lift. When you're winning and have momentum, it carries you," Lyttle added.

"It is just unfortunate their confidence has been knocked, but the type of manager David (Healy) is and the type of players they have, it is only a matter of time before they pull a few results together and find the wins.

"And beating Cliftonville will lift them.

"I would say it's only a matter of time before they string a few victories together. And let's not forget they have played nine or 10 away games on the bounce.

"That is unbelievable. Once they go to Windsor and create that winning mentality, I would imagine they will get back to normality."


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