Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Healy knows Sky Blues have power to crush title hopes


By Graham Luney

David Healy knows his title-chasing Linfield side could be in for a rough ride at the Ballymena Showgrounds this afternoon.

Making plans to knock the Blues bandwagon off track is David Jeffrey, the legendary former Linfield boss who won 31 trophies during a glorious spell in the Windsor Park dugout.

Jeffrey, now in charge of the Sky Blues, was the last man to mastermind a Blues' championship win back in 2012. The Linfield faithful have waited a long time for that feeling to return but they are daring to dream again after watching their side close the gap on leaders Crusaders to one point with four games to go.

While the Crues face a tense north-Belfast derby at Solitude, Healy's side come up against the Braidmen who are expected to produce a better performance than their poor display against Glenavon last weekend.

Unlike Will Grigg, the Blues are on fire at the moment and they are racing towards the finishing line like a hungry greyhound that has just caught a glimpse of a tasty looking sausage in the distance.

But Healy won't let his boys take their foot off the gas and it would be horrendous if they failed to take advantage of any further Crues slip-up.

"Ballymena are a good side, they won the League Cup and are in the top six, with the ex-Linfield manager," says Northern Ireland's record goalscorer. "We've had a few wins against them but lost in the League Cup. At the time, although I'm not one for making excuses, we had 120 minutes in the Scottish Challenge Cup on the Sunday and travelled back so it wasn't ideal preparation though that did not excuse the performance.

"We had a man sent off early in the second half and to be fair we actually got out of jail only losing 4-1 that night but we bounced back and beat them down there. We beat then twice at Windsor so the players should believe we can deliver in a mentally tough game."

Healy played down the fact that Ballymena United beating Linfield would mean even more, because Jeffrey was at the helm.

"David (Jeffrey) is an idol at this club, and he should be for his achievements and the success he had as a player, (but) more so individually as a manager and with the staff he had. But I don't think it would matter whether David Jeffrey will face Linfield, Crusaders or Cliftonville, he's as passionate as they come and will want to win," says Healy.

"If Crusaders win their next four matches they win the league, as simple as that, so the ball is still in their court.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Crusaders won their four matches, they have proven over the year how strong they are, they normally bounce back after defeat. We are still big underdogs. It's still out of our hands and we need to take care of ourselves."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph