Belfast Telegraph

Chairman insists Blues will not sell Smyth on the cheap


By Gareth Hanna

Linfield are happy to let star winger Paul Smyth move on to a higher level, but only if the club's valuation of the teenager is met.

That's according to club chairman Roy McGivern - who has spoken of the awkward position his club finds itself in.

Smyth is attracting interest from English Championship clubs. QPR have reportedly had two bids rejected for the player, while Reading were thought to have sent a scout to Linfield's 2-0 win over Ards last week.

And while the Blues would be happy to see the 19-year-old get his move into full-time football, McGivern says his club won't budge on their valuation of their asset.

"We're all very keen for Paul to progress, and I have no doubt that he will play at a higher level, but it remains to be seen whether that is this year or next year. We don't want to stand in anybody's way but the club has to be recompensed," he said.

"There has been a significant amount of interest in Paul, which is no surprise, but he is still very much a Linfield player and will be playing at Dungannon this weekend. We will see what happens. There is interest and if a club meets our valuation then the club will discuss it, but we're not at that stage yet. No decision has been made on Paul's future."

The wing wizard is set to be involved today as Linfield target 'six of the best' against Dungannon Swifts.

Stangmore Park has become a happy hunting ground for the champions of late - and manager David Healy intends to pile on the agony.

They may not have set the world alight in their two opening fixtures, but the Belfast boys are still sitting with maximum points after wins against Carrick Rangers and Ards.

This will possibly be the Blues' biggest test of the new campaign so far but, having won on their previous five visits to the County Tyrone venue, they can afford to strut onto the lush surface with a swagger.

"We may have a good record down there, but we never get it easy at Dungannon," admitted Healy (left). "Although we have won our last five games at Stangmore, we haven't played all that well.

"Dungannon are looking for their first points of the season, so I know they'll be determined to put that right.

"But we must look after ourselves. We have racked up two early wins without really being all that impressive.

"The bottom line is it's been two professional performances so far. We are moving in the right direction."

With talisman striker Andy Waterworth missing because of a knee ligament injury, Healy has been forced to reshuffle his pack. The versatile Kirk Millar has gobbled up the opportunity by bagging goals in both his team's opening matches.

"Kirk gives up options," added the Northern Ireland international record goal scorer.

"I always expect a wee bit more from Kirk because he has great ability.

"He took a bit of stick when he came in with a new hair cut. The fans recognise him with the little flick-over, but he came back in pre-season with a heavy fringe.

"I don't really care about his hair style as long as he keeps producing the goods. He's certainly started the season well."

Today's fixtures

Danske Bank Premiership (3pm)

Ballinamallard Utd v Cliftonville, Ballymena United v Glenavon, Crusaders v Coleraine, Dungannon Swifts v Linfield, Glentoran v Carrick Rangers, Warrenpoint Town v Ards

Bluefin Sport Championship (3pm)

H&W Welders v Larne, Institute v Lurgan Celtic, Knockbreda v Ballyclare C'rades, Loughgall v Dergview, Newry City v PSNI, Portadown v Limavady United

Bluefin Sport Intermediate (3pm)

Banbridge Town v Annagh United, Dundela v Armagh City, Lisburn Distillery v Queen's Uni, Portstewart v Newington YC, Sport & Leisure v Donegal Celtic, Tobermore United v Moyola Park

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