David Healy hoping for Shield boost to end Linfield’s losing run

Linfield manager David Healy.
Linfield manager David Healy.

Linfield boss David Healy believes his players should need little motivation when they step out against Carrick Rangers on Tuesday night.

The Blues know victory at Taylor’s Avenue will book a place in the final of the Toals County Antrim Shield, although the game is subject to a pitch inspection on Tuesday morning after recent heavy rain.

It would keep rookie manager Healy on course for a first trophy success since succeeding Warren Feeney in October.

Perhaps more importantly, it would lift Linfield out of the rut they currently find themselves wedged in.

Saturday’s defeat to Portadown saw the Blues lose all four Premiership fixtures during the month of November.

It was another bitter pill to swallow for Healy, but he hopes they can emerge from the mire by claiming victory in the Shield.

“Tuesday is a chance to get into a final of a cup competition. So it is a massive game,” he said.

“I didn’t say too much to the players after Saturday’s defeat to Portadown. I just said I would see them on Monday and we go again.

“Tuesday night could spark us into life again. The Shield was kind to David Jeffrey and Roy Coyle, so if it is good enough for the two most successful managers the country has ever seen, then hopefully it can be kind to me.

“The players will be up for it – I will make sure they up for it.”

Healy is remaining positive despite Linfield enduring their worst Premiership run in 18 years.

“I have to be upbeat. There is no point me being downbeat. We have lost a few games of football - life goes on,” the former Northern Ireland striker said.

“I will be as positive and upbeat as I can to the players, and hopefully we get a bounce of the ball or take the lead in a game, and we will see the real Linfield.”

One player Healy could unleash on Carrick is teenage forward Paul Smyth.

Smyth impressed once again in Saturday’s defeat to Portadown, and Healy believes the 18-year-old has a bright future at Windsor Park.

“Young Smyth is a good player. I would hate to put too much pressure on him now, but I love his attitude,” Healy added.

“He gets kicked, he gets pulled, he is put down but he gets up time and time again. He continually wants the ball.

“He is starting games because he has an enthusiasm to play football, and he trains well.

“I want the older players to feed off that enthusiasm, and he is a real bright spark.”