Belfast Telegraph

Blues going all out to take major scalp: Healy

By Steven Beacom

Linfield boss David Healy believes his team will face players with Scottish Premiership quality tonight when they travel to take on Dundee United in the Irn-Bru Cup.

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer enjoyed playing at Tannadice when he was at Rangers and was once part of a 4-0 victory there in 2011 en route to the Ibrox men winning the title. Dundee United finished that game with EIGHT men.

Healy isn't expecting anything so dramatic this time around, but is certain the Blues will be in for a testing encounter against a side lying second in the Scottish Championship one point behind early leaders St Mirren.

It is the stand-out tie in the last 16 of the competition and is being screened live by BBC Alba with a 5.15pm kick-off.

Healy admits he is surprised that Dundee United are in the second tier of Scottish football recalling, with his vast football knowledge, that under Jim McLean they were champions and perennial finalists in cup competitions during the 80s.

"It is going to be tough for us because Dundee United are the biggest club in the Scottish Championship," said Healy.

"I'm surprised they are in the Championship but over the past four or five years Rangers have been there and so too Hearts and Hibs.

"They remain a big club and have been successful over the years. I go back to when they had Jim McLean as manager and they won trophies and reached finals, including the UEFA Cup.

"I think they will go up this season. They are in a strong position and while they are not running away with the league they are up there challenging. You only have to look at the quality of the squad they have with players more than capable of playing in the Scottish Premiership."

Healy may field a stronger team than many expect even though Linfield's next encounter is away to Danske Bank Premiership leaders Coleraine next Saturday. The Blues manager is pleased not to have to play Ballinamallard in the League Cup on Tuesday having re-arranged that fixture for earlier this week - returning from Ferney Park with a 3-0 win.

"The positive things for me going into the game is that it is against a big club in Scotland, it's on television and we don't have the League Cup tie on Tuesday night against Ballinamallard which originally we did," he said.

"We switched that game so it has given us a better chance to field a stronger team against Dundee United ahead of our big league game with Coleraine."

Another positive is having striker Andy Waterworth back in action.

Waterworth made his first domestic appearance of this campaign against Ballinamallard. Typically he found the net.

"To have Andy back is a huge plus," said Healy.

  • Dundee United v Linfield, IRN BRU CHALLENGE CUP: Tannadice Park, Today, 5.15pm

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