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David Healy: Winning games with Linfield is more relief than joy and it will be the same if we beat Warrenpoint today

 

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Starting point: Back where it all began for David Healy as Linfield boss and his debut in the dug-out at Warrenpoint in 2015

Starting point: Back where it all began for David Healy as Linfield boss and his debut in the dug-out at Warrenpoint in 2015

Starting point: Back where it all began for David Healy as Linfield boss and his debut in the dug-out at Warrenpoint in 2015

Linfield are odds on to beat Warrenpoint Town this evening but manager David Healy has insisted that his players will take nothing for granted at Milltown.

Under Healy, the Blues have an excellent record at the most scenic ground in the Irish Premiership though that cuts no ice with Northern Ireland's record goalscorer.

Healy respects opposite number Barry Gray and is sure the Warrenpoint boss will have his side fired up for the visit of the champions who in seven league games to date are unbeaten and have collected 19 points from 21, the last of which was Tuesday's thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Glentoran.

While the Windsor Park men are going for a fourth title in five seasons with Healy at the helm, for Town in every campaign avoiding relegation is the aim.

Nevertheless Healy states: "We've had a good record down there, but we've also found it difficult. I think we won 1-0 there last year and the year before Andy Waterworth scored after about 30 seconds but we had to wait until the 90th minute for Shayne Lavery to seal it.

"I have huge respect for Barry Gray. I was along with him at some of the coaching courses and I know how enthusiastic he is. He gets a lot out of his team and he has recruited well.

"It will be a tough game. It's a tough place to go, even though we do have a decent record."

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Healy's first game in charge was at Warrenpoint five years ago. Since then in the high pressure atmosphere of the Linfield dug-out he has led the team 250 times winning everything possible domestically, including a hat-trick of titles, and earning the club millions of pounds with fantastic results in Europe.

The former Manchester United, Leeds and Rangers striker has been a huge success as manager and is as determined as he was when he started out to keep the victories flowing for Linfield.

"It was 250 games for me on Tuesday against Glentoran. It felt about 1,000. I love managing this football club because the challenge is always there," he says.

"There is never a day goes by when there is not a challenge. When I go home after winning a game of football, it's a relief. I don't go home and suck it up and think, this is great, we won today.

"As soon as the whistle finishes in one game, just like midweek. I speak with the staff. We have a little debrief and chat. The planning starts right away for the next challenge.

"In midweek, I was disappointed at drawing 3-3, yet pleased we got something out of the game at the end, but my mind immediately switched to Warrenpoint Town."

Tonight's game has a 5.30pm start. With increased BBC coverage of Irish Premiership fixtures, kick-off times have been a subject of debate for managers.

Healy, whose captain Jamie Mulgrew could make his 600th Linfield appearance tonight, said: "I don't mind a late start personally, playing away from home on Saturday.

"I think we are going to be televised by the BBC over the next few weeks and we've had the discussion with the people who make the decisions.

"There needs to be a little bit of leeway if teams are travelling regarding the Belfast clubs. There is no point in trying to get to places like, Coleraine, Glenavon or Portadown on a Friday night because some of the boys are still at their jobs and must get out of work early.

"It's difficult. There has to be a little bit of thought that goes into those fixtures.

"I'm a traditionalist. I like a 3pm kick off on Saturday, or a 7.45 on a Tuesday night. That's what my body clock and my mentality tells me.

"We have to adjust with the times. I would say that 5.30pm on Saturday suits us better than travelling around the country for a Friday night kick off."

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Milltown, Today, 5.30pm


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