Northern Ireland legend David Healy is looking forward to feeling like a footballer again after signing for Ipswich Town until the end of the season.
The 30-year-old moved on loan from Sunderland to Portman Road yesterday and will make his debut for Roy Keane’s side against Middlesbrough in the Championship on Saturday.
Healy’s aim is to drive the Tractor Boys away from the relegation battle and in the process start enjoying his football again.
This season has been a nightmare for Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer.
He has hardly featured for the Black Cats and was even left on the bench for an international friendly — which would previously have been unthinkable.
Now though things could be about to change with Healy determined to get back to doing what he does best — scoring goals.
“It has been the most frustrating season that I can remember in my career but hopefully with this move to Ipswich Town I will start to feel like a footballer again,” Healy told the Belfast Telegraph last night.
“I haven’t been enjoying sitting on the bench every Saturday and not playing. It has been really tough to take and has got me down on occasions.
“That’s why I am so delighted to be given this opportunity and I intend to take it.
“I want to get back to playing on a regular basis and I want to start scoring goals again as well as enjoy my football.
“This is a new challenge for me, playing for a club and fans with great respect throughout Britain, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Healy had options in the transfer window, with several Championship clubs chasing him.
Premiership strugglers Portsmouth, in severe financial trouble, were also interested but it was the persuasive powers of Ipswich boss Roy Keane, who brought the Killyleagh man to Sunderland from Fulham, that helped the striker make up his mind.
Northern Ireland fans, of course, have kept a close watching brief on Healy and will be pleased that their hero is set to get some game time under his belt ahead of the European Championship qualifying campaign which starts later this year.
“First and foremost I have to get my club career back on track and in turn that will help me with Northern Ireland,” said Healy.
“I have been very honest about my performances for my country over the last year or so but I still believe I have plenty to offer Northern Ireland and plan to show that in the future.”
Meanwhile Healy’s international team-mate Damien Johnson (left) has also moved from the Premiership to the Championship, although his transfer is on a permanent basis. The midfielder has left Birmingham to join Plymouth Argyle on a two and half year deal.
“I’ve been frustrated at Birmingham and have come to Plymouth to play and do my best for them,” he said.