Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY GARETH FULLERTON

Bal­ly­mena Utd v Lin­field 7.45

DAVID JEF­FREY be­lieves Bal­ly­mena are prepar­ing to meet a Lin­field team that has the “bit be­tween its teeth” once again.

David Healy’s Blues bounced back to form last Satur­day with a thump­ing 6-0 win at Bal­li­na­mal­lard.

It came after a woe­ful run of just one win in their last five out­ings in all com­pe­ti­tions.

“Lin­field have got the bit be­tween their teeth after last week, make no mis­take about that,” Jef­frey (inset) said. “They beat Bal­li­na­mal­lard 6-0 and also had a player sent off. So we are ex­pect­ing a very tough game. If we don’t ap­ply our­selves well, we can get thumped.

“Lin­field are back on track. That 6-0 win will have been a good fil­lip for them. It was al­ways go­ing to be that way.

“My team talk is that we are play­ing against the dou­ble cham­pi­ons who are com­ing off the back of a 6-0 away win.

“Their man­ager has put it to them that the chal­lenge is to lose as few games as pos­si­ble be­tween now and the end of the sea­son. Re­mem­ber the run they went on last sea­son? That was phe­nom­e­nal.”

Bal­ly­mena are miss­ing Kyle Owens who is sus­pended. Em­mett Friars (calf), Michael Gault (groin), Kevin Bran­iff (ham­string) and Caolan Loughran (dis­lo­cated el­bow) are also out. Mean­while, mid­fielder Stephen Mcalo­rum is near­ing a re­turn to first team ac­tion after re­cov­er­ing from in­jury.

“Stephen has played some min­utes al­ready for the re­serves so he is build­ing up,” Jef­frey said.

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