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Healy targeting maximum points from here on in as Blues bid to stay in the mix

By Alex Mills

David Healy has urged his team to keep their foot on the gas as the Danske Bank Premiership tonight reaches a critical stage.

The battling Blues have cranked up the pressure on reigning champions Crusaders in recent weeks and now, with three games remaining, only one point separates the teams at the top of the table.

Stephen Baxter's boys came back off the ropes following successive defeats against Coleraine and Linfield to rack up a crucial win over Cliftonville at the weekend - their 10th victory in 11 meetings with their North Belfast rivals.

With Linfield winning at the same time at Ballymena, Healy's team demonstrated they are in this title race for the long haul.

It means one slip by either side could have devastating consequences.

With Gary Hamilton scheduled to bring his Glenavon team to Windsor Park tonight for the Blues' final home game of the season, Healy wants to put on a show for the fans.

"I'm sure there will be twists and turns before it's all over, but the reality is the title is still out of our hands, which is unfortunate," said Healy.

"It's still Crusaders' title to lose - we are still chasing. They don't intend to give it to us, so all we can do is look after ourselves.

"We have another massive game against Glenavon coming up - they are all big games. They got a solid result against Coleraine at the weekend, so they will be buoyed for the game.

"I've no doubt they will come to Windsor to try and frustrate us. The bottom line is, we need to win all our three games - anything less, we'll have no chance of winning the league.

"It's a nervy time, it's edgy, but that's where we want to be. This time last season the league was over the second game into the split.

"We need to continue do what we do - and that's win football matches.

"It now comes down to a mini league, we've got Glenavon, Coleraine and Cliftonville coming up. The Crues have to go to Ballymena next week; and then they've Coleraine and Glenavon also.

"Hopefully we are still in there (battling for the title) after Tuesday night. It's our last home game of the season. I would imagine there will be a big crowd there, because of the Easter holidays.

"Hopefully the fans turn up in big number to give us good backing and, fingers crossed, we can send them home with three points."

Healy, who has still to serve two games in a six-match touchline ban, was thrilled with his team's performance at Ballymena, adding: "We got the job done under tough conditions.

"We knew it was never going to be easy. We never looked in any danger of conceding a goal.

"Ballymena had scored plenty this season, so to come away without our goalkeeper, Roy Carroll, having to make a save is pleasing.

"We are now down to three cup finals. We just have to focus on taking three points against Glenavon and take it from there."

Belfast Telegraph


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