Belfast Telegraph

I'll mix it up but not take Comrades lightly: Healy


Shuffling deck: David Healy is set to make changes to his Linfield line-up
Shuffling deck: David Healy is set to make changes to his Linfield line-up

By Keith Bailie

Linfield manager David Healy expects to make a number of changes for today's Irish Cup clash with Ballyclare Comrades.

While Healy says the Danske Bank Premiership leaders will respect the Championship club, he will have one eye on Tuesday's County Antrim Shield semi-final against Ballymena United.

First, the Blues must negotiate Ballyclare, who are eighth in the second tier, at Windsor Park.

"We need to be careful as we have played a lot of games in recent weeks and we also have Ballymena United on Tuesday night in the County Antrim Shield, so I need to think about that," said Healy. "We have played an awful lot of fixtures over the Christmas period, so we definitely have a few tired bodies in there.

"We will make changes for Ballyclare, but at the same time I will ensure we play a very strong team because we cannot afford to underestimate them.

"They are going well in the Championship and they're a club who have defeated Linfield in the recent past, so we won't be taking them lightly.

"We have watched them and done our preparation, so we will be giving them the respect they deserve. We will be prepared and ready to go."

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So far, Linfield have not signed any new players in the January transfer window. Healy says he will only dip into the club's transfer kitty if he believes the player can make a real difference.

"If on the first day of February I have the same squad I have today, I'll not be complaining too much," said Healy.

"I see other clubs making signings and their fans get very excited about it, but for me there's no point unless you know the new player is going to improve your squad.

"I'm more than happy with what I have in the changing room. We worked hard in the summer to get the right players to Windsor Park and we're reaping the benefits of that now.

"My players have my full backing. I believe the guys we have here are already good enough, so I will only sign a new player if I believe he can make a genuine difference."

On New Year's Day, a Jimmy Callacher double gave Linfield a 2-0 win over Ards at the Bangor Fuels Arena. With Ballymena United dropping points, the Blues are now top of the table.

"It's nice to be on top but the lead has changed a few times this season, so we're not getting carried away with anything as it's only January," added Healy.

"We're on a good run at the moment and we're keen to build on that. The only game we have lost in recent weeks was away to Ballymena, and I think we were slightly unfortunate on the day.

"We're in a good place. I think the players deserve the credit, because last season was so tough it would have been easy for them to throw the head up. But they've not done that, they've regrouped and given me absolutely everything."

Linfield vs Ballyclare Com

Tennent's Irish Cup Fifth Round

Windsor Park, Today, 3pm

Belfast Telegraph


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