Belfast Telegraph

Moyola will make most of chance to take on Linfield and my hero Healy: Pattison

Linfield v Moyola Park, BetMcLean Cup Second Round: Windsor Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

Big test: Moyola Park boss Mervyn Pattison is relishing taking on Linfield tonight
Big test: Moyola Park boss Mervyn Pattison is relishing taking on Linfield tonight

By Steven Beacom

Moyola Park manager Mervyn Pattison used to cheer David Healy on from the Windsor Park stands - but tonight he is relishing the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the Linfield boss in the League Cup.

Pattison's men, who sit bottom of the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate table after one league game, will be massive underdogs against a side leading the way in the top flight but the boss is hoping the occasion, opposition and venue can inspire his players.

"It's a lovely draw for us and everyone involved with the club is looking forward to going to Windsor," said Pattison.

"We are under no illusions though. We are right up against it. Linfield are the biggest club in the country and are top of the table so they are in good form.

"It's a great opportunity for our players to pit their wits against some of the best players in the country.

"I wish I was able to go out and put the boots on myself! Unfortunately we have a few lads missing with injuries, but it means a few young boys will come into the squad and what an experience for them to play at a stadium like Windsor.

"They may not get the chance again so hopefully they will make the most of it.

"To be honest, our preparation hasn't been the best going into the Linfield game because we have had only one league game so far and have just had a free Saturday.

"We got off to a bad start in the league with a heavy 4-0 defeat at Newington but this is the type of match and occasion where hopefully we could be inspired."

When Healy was scoring a record number of goals for Northern Ireland, including famous winners against England (2005) and Spain (2006) in Belfast, Pattison was admiring the striker from his seat at Windsor. Now he has the opportunity to take him on in the biggest match for Moyola in years.

"I was at Windsor and cheered David when he scored the winner against England, and I was there when he hit the hat-trick against Spain as well," recalled Pattison.

"He was a great player for his country and a great servant for Northern Ireland. For me personally it's fantastic coming up against a man like David Healy, who is proving to be a really shrewd manager."

Healy is likely to shuffle his pack, with certain players rested after picking up 10 points from 12 in an impressive opening to the league campaign. Even so, Linfield will be strong and will be intent on maintaining their form ahead of a home game against Ards at the weekend.

Moyola Park will have a famous face in their ranks in the shape of former X Factor contestant Eoghan Quigg.

"Eoghan has just come in this year. He had finished with Portstewart at the end of last season and when we heard he was available we got in touch," explained Pattison.

"We'd come up against him a few times and he was a very busy player. He's obviously more famous for his singing and he's been asked to sing a few times in the changing room by the boys. He's told them they'll be sick of hearing him by the end of the season.

"It's a little bit of banter. Football-wise he is a very good addition to our squad."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph