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David Healy will shine at Linfield and David Jeffrey must replace Portadown boss Ronnie McFall in May says Colin O'Neill

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer David Healy can turn Linfield into title winners again, according to ex-Irish League favourite Colin O'Neill.

The Blues have not won the league championship since 2012 having dominated the local scene under David Jeffrey, who left the club last year.

Warren Feeney replaced Jeffrey, but now he too has departed Windsor Park to become assistant manager at Newport County, giving Healy his first taste of management.

Ex-Northern Ireland midfielder O'Neill is delighted to see such a high profile figure take charge of an Irish League club and says Healy can make the Blues a force again.

"I have high hopes for David Healy and what he can do at Linfield," said O'Neill, who previously managed Coleraine.

"I thought Warren Feeney was starting to build something there but he moved to Newport and now David has his opportunity.

"He was something else for Northern Ireland and to see him manage the Blues is great for Irish League football.

"All he will be thinking about is being great for Linfield. I think he can be a success. They haven't won the title for a few years now which never goes down well at Linfield, but if anyone can get them back to the top it is Healy.

"It will be interesting to watch him develop as a manager. It seems to me that he wants his team to play football the right way, which I'm sure will be welcomed by the Linfield fans who can be hard to please, even in the best of times."

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Jeffrey would know that better than anyone. He has enjoyed his time out of the managerial game having brought so much success to Linfield during his spell as the club's longest serving boss.

O'Neill believes that Jeffrey should return to the dug-out to replace under-pressure Portadown manager Ronnie McFall, though not until the summer.

"Ronnie McFall is taking stick from some Portadown fans at the moment and there is no doubt the team are not performing, but my view is that he should be given the chance to stay until the end of the season and then David Jeffrey should come in," said the straight talking O'Neill, who played under McFall at Shamrock Park.

"I like Ronnie. He is a genuine man and has brought Portadown success they could only have dreamed about before he came on the scene, so he deserves to see it out until the end of this campaign.

"I know Ronnie is good friends with David Jeffrey and I think him taking over would be the way to go for Portadown in the future."

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