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Sign Healy up now or Linfield risk losing him, warns Coyle

 

By Graham Luney

Roy Coyle says Linfield's decision to hand David Healy a new contract is "smart business" as big clubs could make a move for the Northern Ireland legend.

Healy has just guided the Blues to a first league title in five years and, with the Co Antrim Shield already in the Windsor Park trophy cabinet, Linfield can make it a trophy treble if they beat Coleraine in Saturday's Tennent's Irish Cup Final.

Blues chairman Roy McGivern told the Belfast Telegraph last week the club will have talks with the former Rangers star regarding a new deal. Healy was handed a two-and-a-half year deal when he succeeded Warren Feeney in October 2015, but Linfield are keen to acknowledge the significant progress at the club by rewarding the 37-year-old with a new long-term contract. Coyle, who guided Linfield to 31 trophies between 1975 and 1990, said the Blues chiefs should be offering Healy new terms.

"I think it's good management by Linfield's board to talk to David about a new contract," said Glentoran's Director of Football (far left with Healy).

"I think it makes good sense if the club wants to keep hold of him as manager. David has attracted significant praise for his achievements and when you are winning league titles people, including other clubs, will take notice.

"Linfield will not want to lose him and they will want a period of sustained success.

"To me, extending his contract will be good business from the club."

Coyle added: “He is always remembered for his achievements as a Northern Ireland striker but he needed to prove himself as a manager and winning the league is a great start.”

McGivern said last week: “David has a year left but I have no doubt no matter what happens on Saturday and in the Irish Cup final we will be speaking to him about another contract.”

Lifelong Linfield fan Healy is living the dream at Windsor Park and the success he has enjoyed this campaign will whet his appetite for more glory.

Coyle, who won 10 league championships and three Irish Cups while in the Linfield hotseat, feels Coleraine face an uphill struggle in Saturday’s Cup

decider.

“It’s going to be very difficult for the Bannsiders because the Blues have momentum and their confidence is high after winning the title,” he added.

“Andy Waterworth is on fire for Linfield and their players will be highly motivated to win a third trophy and make up for

the disappointment of last year’s final loss to Glenavon.”

Linfield legend Glenn Ferguson, now Academy Director at Windsor Park, feels a lot of pressure has been lifted from the players’ shoulders after the title success.

“I think the shackles have come off the Linfield players now after what happened at the weekend,” he argued.

“They will be a lot more relaxed even though they are the favourites and the pressure won’t really be on Coleraine.

“They aren’t expected to win but it could be a tightly contested game. If Coleraine show no fear they will be hard to beat but the neutral will probably think Linfield will edge it. They are certainly playing great football.”

Meanwhile, Ballymena United have announced that striker Matthew Shevlin has signed a new two year contract to stay at the Showgrounds until the end of the 2018/19 season.

• Enniskillen Rangers recorded an impressive 5-1 win over Lurgan side Hill Street in yesterday’s Irish FA Junior Cup final.

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