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Warrenpoint Town are keen to spoil David's big day

By Stuart McKinley

Barry Gray has seen a different side to David Healy than most Irish League managers, but he still wants to spoil his debut in the dugout.

The pair worked alongside each other as they moved up the coaching ladder under the Irish FA and that allowed Gray to get to know Northern Ireland's record goalscorer in a way that few others have had the opportunity to do.

The Warrenpoint Town boss is still planning to do all he can to make Healy wait for his first win since being appointed as Linfield manager this week.

"David and I were together on the Uefa A Licence courses," revealed Gray.

"When you get to that stage, as well as the locals, you get a lot of professionals from across the water - and sometimes further afield - coming to do the courses and often there wouldn't be a lot of mixing.

"David, being a down-to-earth guy, was conscious of that and didn't want to set himself apart so I've a lot of time for him because of that.

"I'm delighted to see him take the job and I wish him all the best - after his first match."

Healy has jumped in at the deep end to take his first managerial role, having coached with the IFA since retiring from playing two years ago.

His personal profile will, according to Gray, in turn raise that of the league and possibly bring in new fans.

"It will take him a while to get his feet under the table, but the appointment is perfect for the league," said Gray.

"It's another high-profile player coming into a management role in Northern Ireland.

"He is an iconic figure in Northern Ireland football and because of that I think international fans who don't necessarily follow the Irish League will take more of an interest and fans of the clubs he played for will be interested to see how he's doing as a manager.

"I hope he does well - but I don't want him getting three points from his first game."

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