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Linfield need to take the goalscoring heat off Christy Manzinga, claims Kyle McClean

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Linfield ace Kyle McClean. Credit: David Maginnis

Linfield ace Kyle McClean. Credit: David Maginnis

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Linfield ace Kyle McClean. Credit: David Maginnis

Midfielder Kyle McClean believes Linfield lean too heavily on Christy Manzinga as a main goal threat.

The big French striker last weekend took his tally for the season to 18 with a classic hit against Ballymena United, earning the Blues a slender 1-0 victory which kept them at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

Having struggled in his first season at the club after arriving from Motherwell, Manzinga is now a fans’ favourite. Even though McClean reckons there are more goals to come from the 26-year-old, he insists it’s important he is given a hand.

“Christy has been great,” said the former Kilmarnock man. “He joined us last season but didn’t figure much because of the form of Shayne (Lavery) and Andy Waterworth. He also had a few injury problems and suspensions.

“With the boys (Waterworth and Lavery) leaving over the summer, Christy is now the main man. He’s had a good run and he’s scored plenty of goals. He’s been massive for us. He’s quick and he’s strong and a real handful for any defence. Hopefully there are more goals to come.

“We probably lean on him too heavily for our goals, to be honest. We should be chipping in with more from other people.

“Unfortunately we’ve lost a few strikers, so as a team we need to be looking for goals from other areas, should it be from set-pieces or midfielders getting into the box a bit more, just to take the pressure off Christy.

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“The gaffer (David Healy) has brought in a couple of strikers in Ethan Devine and Chris McKee, so hopefully they can start knocking in the goals.

“Chris has looked really sharp in training, he’s good with both feet and can finish. Ethan is a big lad and gives us something we don’t have. Hopefully both will have a big say this season.”

The Blues will look to crank up their title defence against Gary Hamilton’s Glenavon at Windsor Park today.

McClean added: “It’s another massive game, similar to last week. It’s important we win our home games. We have to make it as difficult as possible for teams coming to Windsor Park. Picking up three points is vital, especially at this time of the season.

“Unfortunately we failed to kill off the game last weekend (against Ballymena). It was a slog. We don’t make things easy for ourselves.

“When you don’t get that second goal, things can become difficult. Ballymena have quality players, but thankfully we managed to keep a clean sheet to help us win the three points.

“We limited them in terms of chances, but every team will create a good opportunity over the 90 minutes and only for a brilliant block from Quinnie (Niall Quinn), we could well have lost points. Kirk (Millar) did the rest, clearing off the line.”


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