Belfast Telegraph

Healy is hoping for quick recovery by captain Mulgrew

 

By Ian Callender

Linfield captain Jamie Mulgrew is a doubt for Saturday's Premiership game with Coleraine after what his manager described as a "shocking challenge" in their 3-0 win over Glenavon.

David Healy was cautiously optimistic that Mulgrew would be available for the Blues' penultimate game of the season, which they will start one point behind long-time leaders Crusaders in the race for the title.

Mulgrew had to be substituted at half-time but Healy believes his skipper was lucky to even make it that far in the game after the early tackle by Glenavon midfielder Andy Kilmartin.

"I felt it was a shocking challenge. It was only 10-12 minutes into the game, but the referee didn't even deem it worthy of a yellow card! Kilmartin then gets booked 10 minutes later for a heavy challenge on Paul Smyth," said Healy.

"We took Jamie off as a precaution, as he was struggling before half-time. He will be assessed on Thursday night but knowing the type of player he is, he will respond to treatment and be fine for Saturday."

Healy knows that even if Linfield win their last two games it may not be enough to end Crusaders' reign as league champions as he does not expect them to drop points in the exciting run-in - but he insists he is not playing mind games.

"Tables don't lie at this stage, and I don't think mind games will come into it now. If we turn up at the end of April and have won our next two games - which are difficult games, away to Coleraine and Cliftonville - and are still second then we have to congratulate Crusaders," he said.

"I said after we beat them (12 days ago) it's out of our hands and I wouldn't be surprised if they win their last four. They have done a good job so far.

"We now have a very tough game against Coleraine which is traditionally a hard place to go for any team with their home form but we are looking forward to it. And at least the title race is still alive. The second game after the split last year the league was over, so it keeps the neutrals interested."

Although three goals in 16 minutes before half-time confirmed the three points on Tuesday, Healy admitted he "had a pop" at the players for their lethargic second-half performance.

"The second half was a non-event, which happens a lot when teams are 3-0 up, but I thought we were sloppy when we had the chance to go on and be really ruthless and clinical," he added.

"It was the same on Boxing Day (against Glentoran) and we got punished. And when you total the points up at the end of the season those sort of displays cost you."

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