Belfast Telegraph

David Healy: I’m in Pole position to deliver

Tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Poland is massive. You can’t underestimate the importance of it.

A victory would put us in a brilliant position to qualify for the finals in South Africa next year.

Even a draw wouldn’t be the worst result, though a defeat is unthinkable.

Everyone knows that our away record has not been good enough in recent years.

To be honest we have let ourselves down at times.

But there is a real feeling in the camp that we can change that in Poland.

The boys have been at 100mph in training ahead of the game.

Everyone is buzzing about the match.

Nigel Worthington has really got us going and from a personal point of view the manager has been great with me this week.

He’s told me to keep working hard for the team and that the goals will come again.

I have really appreciated that.

I have been through a goal famine before at international level — a lot worse than the present one — and I have played in periods when I couldn’t stop scoring for Northern Ireland so I know all about the highs and lows. Even so it is good to know that the manager has faith in me.

I’ll aim to repay that on Saturday night. I do feel I’m due a goal and hopefully for our qualification hopes I’ll get one.

We are fired up for this fixture and you can bet your life Poland will be too, given what happened them at Windsor Park back in March.

We deservedly defeated them 3-2 that day, no doubt about that at all.

It was a result that hurt them badly so they’ll be thinking about revenge.

I’m sure there will be a hostile atmosphere in the ground — the Polish switched the venue to make sure of that — but we have enough experienced players in our ranks to cope with it.

They’ll obviously come at us from the start and we’ll be prepared for that.

We have to be professional, and effectively be big strong men in mind and body and when chances come our way, we’ll have to take them.

This is an away match for a hero to step forward, just like Gerry Armstrong did in Spain in 1982 and Jimmy Quinn in Romania in 1985.

We won both those World Cup games 1-0 and we’d take that this time around.

There is another crucial game tomorrow night in our group between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but none of us are that bothered about it.

We can’t have an impact on the result and are only concerned with looking after ourselves.

We’ll think about Slovakia and the match at Windsor Park on Wednesday night when it comes around.

We have a major job to do before that.

And I can’t wait.

I’ve been involved in the Northern Ireland team for the last decade and find it hard to recall the whole squad ever looking forward to an away fixture more than this one.

We’re ready to produce a big display to keep our World Cup dream alive.

Belfast Telegraph


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