Belfast Telegraph

Frustrated Healy calls on his men to strike it hot again

By Steven Beacom

Linfield boss David Healy has called on his shot-shy troops to find the killer touch against Cliftonvillle at Solitude today.

The Blues are squandering too many chances as they aim to ensure their season doesn't finish with a whimper.

Both sides will meet in a blockbuster Irish Cup clash later this month but Linfield will need to find their shooting boots before then.

Healy's men are level on points with Barry Gray's side after 27 games but couldn't locate the net in the scoreless draw with Dungannon Swifts last weekend.

"We lacked a cutting edge, pace and energy against the Swifts," said Northern Ireland's record goalscorer.

"We have been up and down all season so it's about finding that consistency."

Reds midfielder Ruairi Harkin said: "Linfield is a massive game, we've been looking forward to it after the disappointment of losing the League Cup semi-final to Ballymena.

"There's been a few disappointments, especially last week, but there's a lot to play for - Europe being one, which is a massive target for us."

If midfielder Stephen Lowry features for the Blues today it will be his 150th appearance for the club.

The former Coleraine ace signed for Linfield in May, 2014 and made his debut in a 2-1 win away to B36 Torshavn in the Europa League in July, 2014.

He has netted 25 goals for the Windsor Park side.

Meanwhile, Warrenpoint Town boss Matthew Tipton has hailed teenage sensation Lorcan Forde and tipped the young forward to make the grade in full-time football.

Tipton's comments come after 18-year-old Forde spent three days with Burnley earlier this week impressing the coaching the staff at the English Premier League side.

With Stephen Murray and Darren Murray sold to Glenavon and Crusaders respectively in the January transfer window, Forde's importance to Warrenpoint has increased and he has not been found wanting.

The gifted youngster was absent for Tuesday night's 3-1 defeat at home to Cliftonville due to being at Burnley, but is set to return today for a vital clash away to Carrick Rangers at the bottom end of the Danske Bank Premiership.

"The initial feedback that I have received is that Lorcan did really well when he was over with Burnley," said Tipton. "In my opinion he is a massive talent and up there with the best young players in the Irish League. I've never had any doubt in his ability since I first saw him a few years ago. Technically he has improved and I feel there is still a lot more to come.

"I do believe he has what it takes to make a good career for himself in full-time football."

Warrenpoint have become the entertainers in Irish League football. They score and concede goals at a rapid rate and Tipton is keen to stop the latter, especially after shipping three against Cliftonville which he felt could have been prevented.

"We can't keep giving teams the goals we do," he said. "We just have to be tighter and we can't switch off because, it seems, when we do we are punished."

Carrick have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks but remain second bottom, four points ahead of Ballinamallard and four behind Warrenpoint.

Belfast Telegraph

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