Belfast Telegraph

Linfield fan power can help dig us out of this tough spell: Healy

By Graham Luney

Linfield manager David Healy has called on the club's fans to get behind the players and help steer the club through a nightmare spell.

Healy is glad to see the back of October, a grim month that saw the Blues lose four of their six matches.

Victories over Ards in the Premiership and Ballinamallard United in the league were chinks of light in the darkness with the gloom mood arriving following losses to Dundee United in the IRN-BRU Cup, Coleraine and Crusaders in the league and then Ards in the County Antrim Shield.

Linfield may be champions but they aren't playing like that and it's an issue they need to tackle urgently or there is the unthinkable prospect of them falling out of the title race by Christmas.

Healy's side are a massive 13 points adrift of league leaders Coleraine, and even though they have played a game less than the Bannsiders, their performances do not suggest they can mount a fightback.

The Blues were able to reel in Crusaders last season with a stunning run in the second half of the campaign but it may prove an even more daunting challenge to repeat that trick this time round.

As his men travel to face Gavin Dykes' Ballinamallard United this afternoon, Healy won't be thinking about league titles or end of season celebrations - his number one objective is to stop the rot and quickly.

While it's the manager who always has to absorb the fiercest criticism and the Linfield fans are rightly angered by some of their team's performances, the players must now show their mettle.

At the moment they are not proving they deserve to wear the jersey and Healy will remind them that without hunger and fight they will achieve nothing.

The supporters also have a role in lifting the team when confidence is low and Healy hopes they can be a positive influence to get the show on the road again.

"We do need the fans behind us particularly at somewhere like Ferney Park where the supporters can be close to the players," said the Blues boss.

"I would urge them to get right behind the players. I feel their disappointment because we have been under-performing, but I still have full belief in everything that they are trying to do. It's been a tough month but stick with the players and hopefully we will come out in a better position.

"Linfield fans would forgive a lot if the hard work and desire is there and we will make sure we do that to win football matches."

Healy feels some of his players haven't seized a golden chance to impress and he accepts performances must swiftly improve.

"Speaking to the players after the Ards game they are only letting themselves down. I pick a team wanting to win and I want to pick the best 11 I can," Healy told the club's website.

"Players have been given opportunities but have they grasped them in certain matches?

"Absolutely not, they have come up short.

"It's been a tough month personally for me. I'm in a privileged position and I take everything to heart. I love managing this football club and I know the supporters pay money to watch us perform.

"For the people who booed at the end of the Ards game, I'll say I nearly booed myself after watching that performance.

"I'm the manager and I take full responsibility.

"I do hurt because I hate losing games. I love managing this club and I had hoped the success we enjoyed last season would rub off on the players, but it hasn't yet.

"There are a lot of games left and we will all dig deep to get the three points."

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