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Healy: It's hard to bring big stars to Blues

By Graham Luney

David Healy has warned Linfield fans not to expect a flood of big name signings next month. January is a tough month for managers to bolster their squads as not many players are available but Blues boss Healy also believes that many transfer targets are scared of the Windsor Park environment.

At Linfield, success is demanded and expected whatever has happened in the recent past and second best in any competition isn't good enough.

The players train three times a week and work tirelessly to give the fans what they crave but it's not a place for individuals who will crumble under pressure.

Many good players have left the club over the years because they haven't been able to perform when the standards are set so high and Northern Ireland's record goalscorer is finding it tough to find men who are ready to go to war for the club.

"It's very hard," replied Healy when asked about potential business when the January transfer window opens.

"I've spoken to a few people and Linfield fans will hope we can sign all these players who they think are available but you can't force anyone to sign a contract.

"You either want to come to Linfield or you don't and for whatever reason over the last few years we haven't attracted the so-called names that this squad is crying out for.

"You can't force people to come to a club.

"We train three nights a week and some players can find that tough or may not want to deal with the expectation levels.

"Sometimes people can't handle that and it makes it difficult to bring really good signings in but I'll keep trying."

Linfield have confirmed the signing of Nigeria international Kevin Amuneke from Ballynure Old Boys and the 30-year-old striker will be able to show what he can do next year.

But the Blues need to raise their game quickly or watch another Danske Bank Premiership title dream go up in smoke.

Defeat to Crusaders at Seaview on Saturday would see the Blues fall 10 points behind the champions and most observers believe that will be too big a gap to wipe out.

Certainly, the Blues will need to show more fight and character than they did in the second half against Glentoran on Boxing Day when Aaron Harmon had the last laugh with a fine header which cancelled out Mark Haughey's opener.

"The players are disappointed as we all are, including the fans," admitted Healy.

"It's about how we respond now.

"I've had enough setbacks in my playing career and infancy as a manager over the last 14 months.

"I have points to prove and I want to be the best manager I can be, I want these players to be the best players they can be and hopefully we will get some light at the end of the tunnel and get some success.

"It's disappointing to drop points. Glentoran's form has been hit and miss but you know they will lift themselves for this game.

"We missed chances against Ballymena United last week and let them into the game, albeit by a harsh penalty decision.

"After we scored we drifted along thinking a chance would come but every game we go out to play I always say somebody make something happen, players should anticipate mistakes and keep asking where the ball is going to be, where it is going to bounce and we didn't have enough of that.

"Burnsy (Aaron Burns) is in the team to score goals and he will be disappointed not to score but the bottom line for us is we didn't create enough chances in the second half to worry Glentoran too much.

"Then you are always hopeful the cross doesn't come into the box and it was too easy for Ross Redman to get the delivery in from which Aaron Harmon scored.

"They got the ball into the box, we didn't defend it properly and were punished.

"They were two points that we didn't want to drop and again leading into it people say form goes out of the window in derby games but it's nice to see Glentoran get up for at least one game every season.

"Seven points is a long way back. The Crues have proved that they are a good side by winning comfortably at Cliftonville.

"One thing we do need is more people to stand up.

"Hopefully we have enough bodies to give Crusaders a game and we have been unbeaten against them this season but we need to go there and win.

"The expectation levels here are we have to win and we will go to Crusaders in confident mood. After a good week's training we will hopefully produce a big performance and get a good result."

There was more uplifting news for the Blues over the festive period when Linfield Swifts clinched the Steel and Sons Cup and Healy added: "I want to extend my congratulations to Alan Dornan and his Swifts players for the tremendous result in winning the Steel and Sons cup on Saturday. The success was well deserved and a great achievement so well done to all our young players on what was a great day for the club."

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