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Christy Manzinga warned to ‘screw the nut’ as players will be on the wind-up after Linfield suspension


Christy Manzinga (left) was sent off after a clash with Glenavon's Andrew Doyle. Pic: INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

Christy Manzinga (left) was sent off after a clash with Glenavon's Andrew Doyle. Pic: INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

©INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

Christy Manzinga (left) was sent off after a clash with Glenavon's Andrew Doyle. Pic: INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

Linfield striker Christy Manzinga has been warned that he must be wise to the cunning tricks of opposition players as he returns from suspension.

The former Motherwell forward bagged five goals in the opening three Danske Bank Premiership games of the season before being hit with a straight red card during the 0-0 draw at Glenavon.

Manzinga appeared to kick out at Lurgan Blues defender Andrew Doyle after being stood on.
Doyle told his manager Gary Hamilton that it was accidental as he tried to step away from the tangle but Linfield manager David Healy alleged that it was a deliberate act designed to wind up his striker, who received a three match ban as a result of his reaction.

“I was far away from the incident but what I did see and what I do know is that Andy Doyle, who was on a yellow card at the time, knew that Christy might react and deliberately stood on him,” claimed Healy.

“My player was naive and silly enough to apparently flick out. Christy is disappointed. For me, I don’t think he gets the protection he deserves at times. I’m sure he will bounce back.”

It all followed a similar suspension last season when Manzinga appeared to hit out at Glenavon's Daniel Larmour. He wasn’t sent off by referee Jamie Robinson that day but after the official subsequently admitted his error, the striker was handed a three game retrospective ban.

Now with two such events in the first year-and-a-bit of his Linfield career, he’s been warned by his manager that he will be a target for the wind-up merchants.

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“Christy will be back involved in the squad on Saturday no doubt,” Healy told the Linfield website after Tuesday’s County Antrim Shield tie concluded the suspension.

“He had a fantastic start to the season in Europe and the league.

“Christy’s been a little bit of a miss. Certainly in the Glenavon game, if he stays on the pitch we more than likely, with 11 against 10, go and win it.

“Christy needs to make sure he’s keeping the head down, screwing the nut, being sensible because there are going to be opposition teams and players who will try and wind Christy up.

“We’ve spoken to him about that.”

Tuesday’s win over Ards was a landmark one for both Healy and Blues attacker Jordan Stewart.

While Healy celebrated his 300th game – and 191st win - in charge of Linfield, Stewart was racking up his 150th appearance for club since joining from Swindon in 2017.

After netting 11 league goals last season, the best tally of his career to date, Stewart has started only half of the club’s first six Premiership outings this season, but Healy is backing him to rediscover his best form.

“All credit to Jordan,” said Healy. “He’s had a tough time over the last year and a bit on and off the pitch. He’s just become a dad for the second time. He has a likeable attitude and there’s nobody better than him in the league when he’s on it.

“He will get back to the levels we know he can. He’s very hard on himself when he takes a poor touch or gives the ball away because he knows that he’s better than that.

“Credit to Jordan. I remember how excited we were when we brought him back. He’s been successful here and we look forward to him playing many more games, scoring more goals, contributing more assists, and creating a bit more history.”

A first Linfield goal for former Cliftonville and Larne wideman Marty Donnelly was enough to settle Tuesday’s tie.

“I thought Marty was good tonight,” Healy continued. “When he lands on the ball, he’s got a hell of a lot of quality. You don’t play the amount of times that he has in the Irish League without having that quality. I thought he had a positive outcome tonight.

“I don’t think it was a fantastic goal but it was the breakthrough that we needed at the time. It settled some of the younger players down a bit.”

Those included 16-year-old debutants Callum Marshall and Ewan McCoubrey as well as 18-year-old Josh Archer, making his third senior appearance.

“Callum’s persistence, energy, hard work and likeability as a lad mean you want to see these young players doing well,” said Healy.

“Callum’s been in and around now with the rest of the scholars for the last month or so. Josh Archer is probably a wee bit more mature and could go and play in quite a lot of Premiership teams and get game time.

“When he’s in and around people like Mulgrew, Shields, Fallon, McClean, he’s only going to improve.

“Young McCoubry coming in for his debut, all 53 or 54 kilos of him. He’s only 16, he’ll improve and will get better and stronger.

“I’m sure when the squad was announced, probably 50:50 that people would have been saying ‘what type of team’s that Healy’s playing?’ and some might have been saying ‘great for the young players and some of the other players’.

“But it’s important that you give them a taste of the environment that they’re going to be in hopefully going forward.”

Next up for Healy’s side is a home game against Carrick Rangers on Saturday at 3pm.

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