Belfast Telegraph

Linfield boss David Healy has to show grit to bounce back

By Scott Young

I joined Glentoran in 1998 so Linfield's run of four successive defeats is a new one on me... and a few others I suspect.

The last time they suffered pain like this was in 1997.

It really is hard to believe what has happened over the last month at Windsor Park.

All of the Blues fans may be struggling to come to terms with this run, but nobody will be feeling it like the manager, David Healy.

He will not have expected this and will be down about the situation.

My first managerial job was with Glentoran and I remember how down I used to get after one loss, let alone four in a row.

The one thing that should give him hope is that Linfield have not been overrun in any of those games. They have not been hammered at any time.

Obviously confidence will be low, but from what I'm hearing the players are behind David and are putting in effort and commitment, as they should.

For David this is a time for him to show the steely side he talked about when he became Linfield manager and to show his mettle and character.

He has to stick with what he believes in and hope to get the rub of the green tonight when the Blues face Carrick Rangers in the County Antrim Shield semi-final.

He also needs his backroom staff and board of directors to rally around and help him whatever way they can and most importantly the players have to come up with the goods and a win in their next game.

Five defeats in a row is unthinkable and would increase the pressure even more.

Even though I have big Glentoran connections, I would like to see David do well at Windsor Park, but he knows it is a results based business and lately they have not been good enough for Linfield.

The time to judge him is after he has brought in his own players in January, but as we all know Linfield fans aren't known for their patience.

David will be thinking about team selection and tactics 24/7 to get things right.

I remember when I was in charge of the Glens and we weren't going so well, I did something different to change the mood. We took the players on a surprise trip to the Dundonald Ice Bowl on a Tuesday training night to play Ten Pin Bowling.

The boys let off a bit of steam and the feedback from the coaching staff was that they enjoyed it before getting down to business again at training on Thursday.

It put smiles on their faces, though what meant more to us than anything was winning football matches.

That's what Linfield must start doing again, otherwise it is going to be one blue Christmas for all at Windsor.

The match tonight with Carrick is a big one for Linfield and David.

He needs a result and I believe the losing streak will end against Carrick. People may say it is only the County Antrim Shield, but winning takes you into a final and that means Healy could be 90 minutes away from a trophy in his first season as boss.

That would put a different complexion on things.

Confidence would increase, players would start feeling good about themselves and Healy would get a break. It doesn't matter how they win, as long as they do.

Spike was right, ref got colours wrong

I can understand the frustrations of Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson following his criticism of referee Keith Kennedy at the weekend.

'Spike' was annoyed by some of the referee's decision making during Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Crusaders as well as the colours the official was wearing - a black shirt and red stripe - which just happen to be the colours of Crusaders.

The referee's decision making is a matter of debate but his colour scheme is not. In my view he should have been wearing a different kit because as 'Spike' says, there was confusion on the pitch during the game.

I know referees feel they are unfairly criticised but sometimes they don't help themselves.

Now Kernaghan must build on first Oval win

Alan Kernaghan will be feeling relieved having secured his first victory as Glentoran manager.

The fact that it came in a league game many didn't expect the Glens to win will have made it even sweeter. The fans were delighted too, especially with the attitude of the home players and their togetherness.

Kernaghan will hope that Glentoran's 2-0 success on Saturday at home to Glenavon can kick-start his side on a winning run. They go to Ballinamallard next and will do so with confidence.

On a sad note, my condolences to the family of well known Glenavon fan Violet Thompson, who passed away last week. Violet was a wonderful lady and a loyal supporter of her club and the Irish League.

Belfast Telegraph


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