Belfast Telegraph

Linfield will need a Windsor roar to help see off HB Torshavn in Europa League: Healy

 

In control: Linfield skipper Jamie Mulgrew steers away from Ari Mohr Olsen during Tuesday’s first leg tie
In control: Linfield skipper Jamie Mulgrew steers away from Ari Mohr Olsen during Tuesday’s first leg tie
Go again: David Healy urges fans to rally behind Linfield

By Steven Beacom

David Healy has called on the Linfield fans to inspire his players at Windsor Park next Thursday to keep the Blues in Europe.

After Tuesday's 2-2 first leg draw in the Faroe Islands against HB Torshavn, Healy's men have given themselves a real chance to progress to the third qualifying round of the Europa League and the manager believes the fans have a huge part to play.

He said: "The supporters have given me and the players so much support, especially in the last 12 months coming off the back of a disappointing season, and we are going to need every single supporter next week in the Kop and the South Stand and wherever else they will be watching the game to get right behind our players and give them an atmosphere and night to thrive on.

"Hopefully then the players will put in a big performance that I know they are capable of and we make it through."

Linfield went ahead twice in the Faroe Islands, first when Andy Waterworth scored after just 51 seconds and then in the 88th minute when the same player netted a penalty.

What disappointed Healy was the visitors conceding two equalisers, especially the second which came along in the 89th minute.

Despite that, the Blues boss revealed he was grateful for the efforts of his team, offering a word of thanks in the dressing room.

"I thanked the players for their hard work, commitment, attitude and desire to play for Linfield," stated the former Rangers striker.

"I know in previous years players missed European games for holidays but these players more than happily committed to playing these matches and rightly so.

"I also told them it's only half-time in the tie and will ask the players to dig deep in the return leg."

Success for Linfield next week would guarantee them almost £1 million in Uefa prize money from their European adventures this summer which started in the Champions League against Rosenborg.

It would also set up a third qualifying round tie against the losers of the Champions League clash between Montenegrin outfit Sutjeska and Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus.

Apoel lead 1-0 at the halfway stage of the tie and are hot favourites to complete the job at home next week, meaning Sutjeska are the most likely opponents for the winners of the Linfield-HB encounter.

The Blues were dominated for long periods in Torshavn and will have to up the ante in Belfast.

Healy added: "I wasn't surprised by their level. They are a good side and very physical. Having felt we did enough to win the game with a late penalty, we found ourselves scrambling in the 94th minute to leave with a draw so we know how tough the match at Windsor is going to be."

Debutant goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson produced a number of brilliant saves and, at the other end, Waterworth's brace took his tally for the Blues in Europe to six. He is now the club's record scorer in continental competition, moving ahead of Linfield legends Arthur Thomas, Phil Scott and Glenn Ferguson on five.

Healy knows all about breaking records from his time scoring more goals for Northern Ireland than anyone else.

Paying tribute to Waterworth, he said: "Credit to Andy. More often than not on the big occasion he delivers. Certainly no one deserves it more than Andy for all the hard work he puts in and it's good to see him top of our scoring charts in Europe."

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