Belfast Telegraph

Linfield boss David Healy hungry to sink Queen's and savour Irish Cup glory again

 

Great tradition: Manager David Healy is looking to maintain
Linfield's great record in the Irish Cup
Great tradition: Manager David Healy is looking to maintain Linfield's great record in the Irish Cup

By Alex Mills

David Healy believes there is nothing that beats the buzz of an Irish Cup tie.

Having sampled the ecstasy and agony of the game's top knockout tournament, the Linfield manager insists his boys will be showing little mercy when they make the short distance to Upper Malone tomorrow to face Queen's University - a genuine David versus Goliath fifth round tie.

There is a huge gulf in class between the teams, Healy's Blues chasing down yet another Premiership title win, while their opponents are loitering in a mid-table place in the Championship.

"The Irish Cup is a big competition," says Healy. "Everyone knows it's a possible route to European football, but there is a lot of prestige with the tournament itself.

"I know the tradition and history of the competition in terms of our own club, we have sampled the lot, winning finals, losing finals. It brings a lot of emotion with it.

"We see it as a big opportunity to hopefully progress and perhaps, come May time, we can put ourselves into the final."

Healy insists complacency will not be an issue. His team will prepare the same way they did earlier this month for testing league games against Coleraine, Glentoran and Crusaders.

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"Queen's will be a tough match for us," he added. "Peter Thompson is a coach that I know. He was one of the very first coaches I saw operating in Northern Ireland when I returned home from England.

"He was coaching with the Manchester United School of Excellence when my young lad was there. I always held him in high regard.

"The other coach, Ryan Prentice, is now involved with our Under-18 team. I have the highest regards for Peter. It will be a difficult game because I know Queen's will be well organised.

"They will have done their homework as they've been watching us. We obviously know their strengthens as well.

"We are probably the only club in the country they didn't want to draw because we do know an awful lot about them."

Unfortunately, there will not be the huge Linfield crowd descending on The Dub because they were issued with only 150 tickets.

Healy added: "I would imagine Queen's will have the same number. It is what it is. Queen's were drawn out first, they have every right to host the game.

"I believe they have already erected mesh netting around the outside of the ground to stop on-lookers - to stop people standing on the banks outside the ground,

"So, it will be a disappointment for the fans who don't have tickets for the game."

Healy's two new signings, Kyle McClean and Ethan Boyle, are both available to take their place in the panel.

"They will help boost the squad," added Healy. "The recent return of Mark Haughey has also been like a new signing for us. He got our second goal against Institute in midweek. He was always a threat from set piece situations.

"I don't think we have such a good ratio from set plays this season, but when you have people like Haughey, (Jimmy) Callacher, (Mark) Stafford and (Josh) Robinson in an around the box, it gives us options from those situations."

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