Belfast Telegraph

Ballinamallard can expect the big, strong Linfield to be back, blasts Healy

Ballinamallard v Linfield, Bet McLean League Cup Third Round: Ferney Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Conor McLaughlin

Shipping late goals cost Ballinamallard United dearly on Saturday - and, unfortunately for the Ferney Park outfit, Linfield doing likewise spells even more bad news.

For Blues boss David Healy has vowed that the Mallards will feel the full force of his side's frustration when the teams lock horns on League Cup duty in County Fermanagh this evening.

The former Northern Ireland striker looked on in disbelief as Linfield threw away a two-goal lead in an incredible capitulation against Cliftonville at the weekend but he's determined that Ballinamallard - who twice conceded late on in their own clash with Ards - will pay the price for their anger.

"After the game at Solitude, I said two words to my assistant manager Ross Oliver - 'square one'," he explained.

"That's where we need to go back to. We'll bring it back to basics, start all over again and bring the big, strong Linfield back.

"I've never questioned my players' effort or lost any respect for what they do, but it's clear we did things wrong at the weekend and we need a major response to that.

"The one good thing is that this Ballinamallard game has come around quickly, so we have an opportunity to get back onto the pitch and get it out of our system.

"We'll want a good performance, we'll want goals and we'll want to show what Linfield are all about."

In accepting responsibility for the Blues' horror show on Saturday, Healy reiterated his belief in his squad and added: "We've had players in the past who have let me down, but they're not here anymore.

"This set of players has achieved great things but it's time that we showed we're ready to forget about that and push on again - Europe's gone, the early season's gone and now we're down to the real thing.

"The defeat to Cliftonville hurt us but now we've got a massive Cup game that we have to focus on and make sure we do our jobs again.

"I'm sure Ballinamallard will make it as tough as they can for us down there, but I'll be looking for a reaction, just the same way as our supporters will be looking for a reaction. I believe that if we go back to square one, work on the basics and start from scratch again, we can show the real Linfield again."

In the night's other third round clash, Ballyclare Comrades play host to fellow Bluefin Sport Championship outfit Institute at Dixon Park (7.45pm).

Certainly on league form there is little to choose between the two teams with Clifford Adams' Comrades just a single point ahead of the men from Drumahoe with eight games played apiece.

One man going slightly further afield is Larne midfielder Ralf Kottoy, who is swapping east Antrim for Africa.

The 25-year-old ace has been called up to the Central African Republic squad for their forthcoming friendly with Equitorial Guinea.

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