Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Healy eyeing bright future with Fulham

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is considering pairing Brian McBride and David Healy up front together in a final throw of the dice in their fight for Premier League survival.

The Cottagers' fate hangs on their last five games and the popular belief is they need at least four wins to finish out of the bottom three, starting at fellow strugglers Reading today.

Healy, a UEFA award winner for banging in goals for Northern Ireland, has not been anywhere near as prolific for Fulham since his former international team manager Lawrie Sanchez brought him to Craven Cottage in the summer.

But he came on as a substitute in Saturday's devastating 3-1 home defeat by Sunderland to score a cracking effort - only his sixth of the season at club level.

Yet it evoked memories of the start of the campaign when Healy and American skipper McBride hit three goals between them in the first three games before McBride was struck down by a knee injury.

Healy, by no means a regular starter even under Sanchez, was not in Hodgson's plans when the former Blackburn and Inter Milan boss arrived as replacement manager just after Christmas.

Now after using six front-line combinations following a frantic £10million spree during the January sales Hodgson may be seeing a new light in Healy.

The striker said: "The manager gets paid to pick the team and I am as disappointed as anybody who is not in it and not playing.

"When the team doesn't score people are looking for other options, for other players to play. I think that happened earlier in the season when I wasn't playing well and not scoring a lot of goals. They were asking why is (Diomansy) Kamara not playing or (Clint) Dempsey not playing. You see it happen all the time especially with strikers. They tend to get rotated more than defenders and midfielders.

"There was a prime example earlier in the season in Jermain Defoe. When he started for Tottenham he didn't score and when he came off the bench he did. Now he's scoring all the time (for Portsmouth).

"I want to be part of this, whatever the future is. Hopefully it will be bright but I don't really want to go back to the lower leagues. People ask 'what is the Championship like?' and the only answer you can give is 'tough'. "