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Linfield's Michael McLellan is on a mission to repay boss Healy's faith

By David Mason

Published 04/02/2016

Net gain: Michael McLellan has opened his Linfield account
Net gain: Michael McLellan has opened his Linfield account

Linfield new boy Michael McLellan admits he only has one real target - to score in every game.

The 23-year-old, who last week joined the Blues from H&W Welders, got off the mark for his new club, scoring in Tuesday night's 6-0 thumping of Dungannon Swifts at Windsor Park - a result that took the Blues up to second in the Danske Bank Premiership table.

There were a few raised eyebrows when boss David Healy made his move for McLellan, who bagged 74 goals in 56 outings for the Welders, but he is determined to repay the faith the former Northern Ireland international has shown in him.

"It was a relief to get my first goal," said McLellan. "I got about 15 minutes of game time on Saturday and a bit longer against Dungannon. It was good to get on the pitch.

"I only signed last week, so it was nice to get off the mark. Batesy (Guy Bates) played a great ball in behind the defence. I knew exactly what I was going to do with it and I was thrilled to see the ball hit the net. Unfortunately I got a bit carried away with my celebration because I ran to the empty stand!"

McLellan shrugs off the suggestion that his signing was a gamble by the Blues.

He added: "Things like that don't annoy me. When I was scoring regularly for the Welders, people were saying it's only Championship One. I'm now off the mark at Linfield. I just want to progress and score as many as I can for this club. I'm not out to prove anyone wrong, I'm out to prove myself right."

McLellan stressed it was something of a culture shock when he returned to the Irish League from Preston a few years ago. He added: "I thought the world was my oyster. I was expecting to get back to England quickly.

"But that wasn't the case. I went to Portadown and then Ballymena, but didn't enjoy my football at either club.

"I owe the Welders a big thank you because they got me back enjoying the game again. Hopefully, that can continue at Linfield.

"This is a bigger spectrum than I am used to. I'm now playing at the biggest stadium for the biggest club in the country. Everything is a lot sharper, more professional.

"It's something that I want. It will make me a better player. Training with these players will also help me improve. We train three nights a week compared to two, so it's a step up in fitness for me. Ultimately it's something I want to do - I want to progress. It's the best thing for me."

Aaron Burns and Reece Glendinning have both signed two-year contract extensions at Linfield.

A delighted Healy said: "I have no doubt that Aaron and Reece can make a huge contribution to this club over the next few seasons and with their contract extensions sorted out, it leaves them free to concentrate on their football.

"It's been a pleasing month to have secured the services of players such as Reece and Aaron, as well as Jamie Mulgrew, Paul Smyth, Jimmy Callacher and Kirk Millar who I want to be part of my squad for the next few years.

"I've also been delighted to sign Michael McLellan, Ross Gaynor, Stephen Fallon, Ruairi Croskery and Gary Lavery to help the squad be as successful as we possibly can in the coming months."

Belfast Telegraph

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