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Winning the Premiership this season would be my sweetest title success, insists Linfield boss Healy

 

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David Healy

David Healy

�INPHO/Declan Roughan

David Healy

Linfield manager David Healy believes winning the title this season would be the 'biggest and best' feat of his time at the club.

He said the chaotic nature of this season, with its packed schedule and Covid-enforced stoppages, means it has been more demanding than any of the previous campaigns he has overseen. And if his players go on to land a 55th Gibson Cup, it would be "an incredible achievement".

The Blues are nine points clear at the top going into tonight's clash against Coleraine at Windsor Park and victory over the Bannsiders would see them take a huge step towards another title.

It would be the fourth championship of Healy's reign and - while he is refusing to accept it is Linfield's to lose - he admits this one would mean so much more.

"Certainly in my time at Linfield this would be the biggest and best because it has been so demanding," he said. "You start a league campaign in October and to play the amount of games that we have played so far - and we have still nine left in the league, it would be an incredible achievement from the players."

Glentoran were held to a 2-2 draw at Ballymena United last night. There were wins for Cliftonville, Larne and Glenavon while Carrick Rangers v Crusaders finished 1-1.

Linfield played eight times in March, with six league and cup fixtures scheduled this month.

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Healy added: "The players have to take huge credit - our players certainly and the rest of the players throughout the league - for the product that they are actually putting on show at the minute.

"Our lads have been a credit this year and hopefully it continues."

Linfield have hit form at the right time, with a run of seven wins from their last eight games. Saturday's win at Dungannon took them nine clear ­- but Healy insists there is plenty still to play for.

He added: "They are all big games coming up, it is a busy spell and we look forward to it.

"Everybody is chasing us and others are saying at the minute it is Linfield's to lose and it's in Linfield's hands but we will take care of our own business.

"We don't look at nine points - a couple of the other teams have games in hand. All we can do - and we are playing one of our closest rivals on Wednesday - is go and perform.

"Hopefully we can be better than we were on Saturday - it is something that we try and drill into the players. If we can be better on Wednesday, even though we won on Saturday, and better the following game after that against Larne, then it gives us a chance going forward."

A win tonight would be a big step.

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Linfield’s Andy Waterworth congratulates team-mate Shayne Lavery after his goal at Dungannon on Saturday

Linfield’s Andy Waterworth congratulates team-mate Shayne Lavery after his goal at Dungannon on Saturday

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Linfield’s Andy Waterworth congratulates team-mate Shayne Lavery after his goal at Dungannon on Saturday

After a 17-game unbeaten run, the Bannsiders' title bid has stuttered in the last fortnight, and they were held by Glenavon at the weekend.

Healy is still expecting a real test, and is impressed with the work Oran Kearney has done.

"It is always a good game against Coleraine. They lost recently for the first time in 14 or 15 games, but they are a good side," he added.

"They have an experienced group of players that have been in and around the top.

"They had a disappointing start to the season after the European run, having been a credit to the league in the summer with what they achieved.

"We are under no illusions. Oran is fully tuned in to the way Coleraine want to play, we will give them every respect and we always enjoy playing against Oran's teams.

"I have huge respect for Oran and Colin (McKendry, the chairman) and the job they are doing there."

Saturday's win at Dungannon saw Jordan Stewart and Shayne Lavery hit landmark goals - their 10th and 20th of the season respectively.

Linfield are top scorers in the league by some distance, and Healy is delighted with the range of players contributing with goals.

"I have been fortunate in my time at Linfield that we have always had forward players who score goals," he added.

"You look at Andy (Waterworth) who is still second or third in the charts of being top goalscorer in the league. I thought Andy, when he came on at Dungannon, gave us a real spark and showed his experience."


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