Belfast Telegraph

Healy's now demanding trophy glory from Linfield

By Stuart McKinley

David Healy insists that the biggest demand for silverware at Linfield isn't coming from the supporters.

And it isn't those on the board, who employed him just over a year ago, who are cranking up the heat either.

Instead, the highest degree of expectation to deliver trophies is coming from the manager himself - but Northern Ireland's record goalscorer is adamant that he isn't under any undue pressure, despite suffering two knockout final defeats last season.

After losing to Ballymena United in the County Antrim Shield and Glenavon in the Irish Cup decider, Healy is still searching for his first prize since becoming boss at Windsor Park in October last year.

The Blues boss will attempt to go some way to putting that right when they face Ards in their County Antrim Shield semi-final at Windsor Park tonight.

Linfield haven't been as dominant in recent times as they were immediately prior to that, with the north Belfast clubs having their say - particularly in terms of the league title.

Indeed, the Shield win in 2014 is the only trophy success that has come the Blues' way since 2012.

Healy has a determination to turn that record around and he is also challenging his players to keep raising their own standards.

"It's a big game for the club. No matter what competition you enter at Linfield, you need to be competitive," said Healy (below).

"You need to go out and try to win them and this one is no different.

"I don't feel like there's a monkey on my back. I have been here 13 months and any manager that manages Linfield, there is pressure on them to win trophies.

"I don't work on pressure, I work on demands and the demands at this club are to be better.

"Every time you put a team on the pitch, every time I put a training session on during the week, we've got to be better to make this club successful again.

"I am not under any illusions. I am a demanding person and I demand these players to be better."

The Blues hammered Ards 4-0 in their only Premiership meeting this season and even though Niall Currie's men are coming off the back of five successive league defeats, Healy is wary that they will see their visit to Windsor Park as the perfect opportunity to respond.

"Ards will be given the respect they deserve," said Healy.

"They are in the top flight and they are in the top flight for a reason and we'll be ready to go out and win the game."

Healy may shuffle his pack tonight. Ross Gaynor only played 35 minutes as a substitute at Portadown on Saturday, while Chris Casement was left on the bench for the entire game.

Goalkeeper Gareth Deane has played in the two previous Shield encounters this season and he is likely to come in for number one stopper Roy Carroll, while Reece Glendinning is also in the frame to play.

Healy is confident in his squad that no matter who comes in they have enough quality to ensure that he is making like-for-like changes.

"I think we've got good players. Just look at our bench and the players who aren't in the squad at the minute," added Healy.

"Matthew Clarke is still serving a suspension from when he was sent off at Glenavon, Aaron Burns is missing, Sammy Clingan is injured.

"We've got a lot of good players who aren't going to be in the 16."

  • Co Antrim Shield Semi-Final: Windsor Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

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