Belfast Telegraph

Healy vows to shuffle deck in bid to kickstart Blues' season

By Adrian Rutherford

Linfield boss David Healy has promised to ring the changes for tonight's League Cup tie against Larne.

The Blues start their trophy quest with a home match against the early leaders in the Championship.

Healy will be expecting a big improvement after a sluggish display in the 1-1 draw against Dungannon Swifts at the weekend. And he is set to shake up his side for the second-round clash.

Healy said the changes will be a reaction to Saturday's performance, rather than an attempt to field a weakened team.

"There will be a few changes in light of Saturday," he said.

Healy is predicting a tough game against Larne, who have won all three of their league games this campaign.

The sides met in pre-season, with Linfield claiming a narrow 1-0 win at Inver Park.

"Larne will come and I'm sure they will be well organised," Healy said. "We played them in pre-season, and David McAlinden has done a good job.

"They have started the season well, winning the first few games pretty convincingly, and they will come here with no fear.

"If they get beaten 3-0 or 4-0, people will say it was expected.

"The pressure is on us, and we'll see how we cope with it. It's a bit like against Dungannon - how do we go and break them down?

"If we play the way we did on Saturday, slow it down and be sluggish and lethargic, then it could be a long night."

A first trophy as Linfield boss is at the top of Healy's priority list this season. He lost two finals last term, missing out on the Co Antrim Shield after defeat to Ballymena and losing the Irish Cup final against Glenavon.

Healy is desperate to make up for those disappointments by ending Cliftonville's stranglehold on the League Cup.

"We lost two cup finals last season so we want to put that right," he said. "The cups are important and we want to go as far as we can.

"Winning games builds confidence and morale. It's a big competition and it's one that Cliftonville have won for the last four years, so someone is going to need to break it soon."

Among those who could come into contention tonight is new signing Kris Bright.

The New Zealand striker made his debut against Dungannon, and the 29-year-old could play a part this evening as he seeks to build match sharpness.

"He's short of match fitness but we'll hopefully get him some minutes over the next couple of weeks," added Healy.

Cliftonville, who are going for their fifth consecutive League Cup success, will once again be the team to beat.

The Reds host Lisburn Distillery, boosted by a 2-1 league win at Ballinamallard United at the weekend.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph