Jeffrey looks to enjoy final

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey will be looking for his side to win the BetMcLean League Cup tomorrow
Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey will be looking for his side to win the BetMcLean League Cup tomorrow

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey has been a serial winner throughout his managerial career in the Irish League.

Jeffrey won 31 trophies during his 17 years as Linfield boss and will be facing his old side in a cup final for the first time since his departure in 2014.

During his time at Windsor Park Jeffrey lifted nine Irish Premier League title, seven Irish Cups, six League Cups, six County Antrim Shields, one Setanta Cup, one Irish FA Charity Shield and one Irish League Floodlit Cup.

And he will be trying to win his second trophy with the Sky Blues after lifting the League Cup in 2017 and he claims that winning trophies now has given him a new lease of life.

“I am looking forward to it even more. I am 56 years of age and I have been blessed with being a manager for a long time. I never thought I would go back into management after I stepped down from Linfield but Ballymena came along and it was something we did not expect and it is something you enjoy because of being with the players.

“An example of this is when I thought we should get new trainers for the cup final and I said to the skipper Jim Ervin we should them.

“The club would pay for them but it is important we make a contribution so Jim told me to send a picture of the trainers I had chosen.

“But the boys thought they weren’t very fashionable trainers and the boys have been saying I have bought five pairs and they are fitting to my age.

“The whole point I am trying to make is it is more enjoyable now because the older you get the more appreciation you have. The appreciation is unbelievable.

“The night we beat Crusaders we thought ‘we are back into another final’ so you are looking forward to this one more than you did for the last one.

“And the players are a massive part of that.”

But Jeffrey knows his Sky Blues will have to be at their very best at Windsor tomorrow afternoon.

“Let us talk facts,” he said. “The reality is very simple, we are punching above our weight and playing against the biggest club in Ireland.

“Their resources far outweigh ours and we are going to be blunt about it.

“What we have done thus far is very commendable but we are going into the game as underdogs.

“We went to Seaview in the semi-final - who are the league champions - and did very well.

“But to be successful we have to be at our very best on the day and that is what we will be trying to do.

“So if we are at our best and win it - great.

“But in the first instance we are delighted to go be in the final three years on the trot and we are not coming to Windsor to make up the numbers but we know exactly what kind of battle we are in for.”

And he praised David Healy’s Linfield outfit.

“Linfield are a very talented team and they are top of the league six points ahead of the rest of us.

“I could wax lyrically about their team all day long. But we are just going to come and give it our best.”