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David Healy to become Linfield manager

By Jim Gracey

Northern Ireland goalscoring legend David Healy looks set to be unveiled as the new manager of Linfield tonight.

Healy will succeed his former international team-mate Warren Feeney who resigned last week to take up as assistant manager's position, under his close pal John Sheridan, at Newport County.

It will Healy's first managerial post at the club he has supported since boyhood.

The appointment of a national hero will go a long way to quelling unease among Linfield supporters over the departure of Feeney, and how it was handled, with the team joint top of the Danske Bank Premiership and challenging for their first title since 2012.

It will be seen as a statement of intent by the Linfield board and the fans will get their first chance to welcome Healy at tonight's home League Cup tie against Ballinamallard at Windsor Park, scene of his greatest international triumphs.

Healy joined Manchester United as a youth in 1995 before signing a first professional deal in 1999. He made his international debut for Northern Ireland a year later, announcing his arrival on the international stage with a brace against Luxembourg. While he struggled for game time under Alex Ferguson, and loan spells followed at Port Vale and Preston, he was instantly a star on the international stage and netted his first competitive goal against Denmark in October 2010.

After becoming a fan favourite at Preston, moves to Norwich and Leeds followed while the goals kept coming for the green and white army. A famous winner against England at Windsor Park in 2005 is now the stuff of Northern Ireland legend while in the qualifying for the 2008 Euros a hat-trick against Spain was the highlight of a campaign in which he scored 13 goals, a record only equalled at the weekend by Poland's Robert Lewandowski. Healy continued to bounce around clubs, taking in Fulham and Sunderland among others before ending up at his other boyhood favourite club Rangers and ending his career at Bury.

His 36 goals for his country is a record.

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