Jamie Mulgrew: David Healy has steered Linfield to brink of glory
Jamie Mulgrew believes the glory days are just around the corner for a Linfield side under the guidance of David Healy.
The Northern Ireland legend's first managerial post was a baptism of fire and a miserable November sparked fierce criticism of the Killyleagh man, but if he can get his hands on the Irish Cup on Saturday Healy will enjoy the last laugh.
Linfield are desperate to net a major trophy for the first time since they secured the league and Irish Cup double in 2012 under legendary boss David Jeffrey.
Glenavon stand in their way in Saturday's decider at Windsor Park but Mulgrew, the only member of the squad that has won an Irish Cup with the Blues, has been impressed by Healy's leadership.
"David brought us back from nowhere really," said Mulgrew who is looking forward to his sixth Irish Cup Final.
"We keep referring back to November but the way he lifted us and the way he managed us and conducted himself has been first class and we have all responded to his leadership. We aren't too far away at the moment and this could be a fantastic end of the season for us."
An Irish Cup victory would be a fitting finish to Mulgrew's Testimonial Year, a midfielder whose hunger for success marks him out as a true Linfield warrior.
"Once you get that first medal it makes you hungry for more and when you win trophies you know then you are doing your job right," Mulgrew told the Blues website. "That's what we all want to do as a squad and that is what we are asked to do. We are under no illusions that when you play for Linfield you have to win trophies.
"If we can win this final then it is something we can build on going forward. It is vitally important that we do that because we have made great strides and I've no doubt we can match anyone in this league on our day.
"We all know the great support that we have and they had to endure the tough November like all of us, but they have stuck by us. Hopefully the fans can be our 12th man on Saturday because there's no club on the island that can match our supporters in terms of the colour, noise and numbers they bring."
Ω Derry City will face First Division pacesetters Limerick in the EA Sports Cup semi-finals.
The Candystripes will have home advantage for the match while holders St Pat's Athletic visit Shamrock Rovers in the other semi-final. The two fixtures will be played on Monday, August 1.