IRISH LEAGUE: David Healy throws down the gauntlet to hungry Linfield

Linfield defender Mark Stafford celebrates his goal
Linfield defender Mark Stafford celebrates his goal

Linfield boss David Healy has set his team target – eight wins before the Danske Bank Premiership split.

The Blues remain on the coat tails of title holders Crusaders following Saturday’s victory over Carrick Rangers at Windsor Park.

Goals from Mark Stafford and Andy Waterworth – his 23rd of the season – helped Healy’s team to a routine three points.

Even though they are still nine points adrift of Stephen Baxter’s champs, Linfield have the chance of reducing the deficit tomorrow night when Dungannon Swifts leave their calling card at the international venue.

“All we can do is win our games,” said former Northern Ireland striker Healy.

“If teams around us also win, it’s out of our hands. That’s why the top three teams are where they are.

“We’ve now eight games before the split. I said the to boys in the dressing room, why not target winning all eight to see where it takes us.”

Linfield’s latest success meant they picked up maximum points over the month of January. Healy really couldn’t have asked for any more.

“The players are starting to believe that good things can happen at this club,” he added.

“We’ve dipped into the transfer market a little bit, but you need to be a good player to play here. You have to have the right character to play for Linfield.”

Healy was a little disappointed his boys didn’t ‘push on’ against Carridk after establishing an early two goal lead.

“We had a number of great chances in the first half, but didn’t take them,” he added.

“We have to be more ruthless in the box – that’s for sure. I was a little disappointment we didn’t go in at half time three or four goals up. I thought we played some great stuff in the first half. “

Carrick Rangers boss Gary Haveron insistes his boys failed to turn up in the first 45 minutes.

“We were lucky to get away with only two goals,” he said. “Linfield were much the better side. We just didn’t compete.

“I think Linfield took their foot off the pedal after the break. They obviously felt the game was done and dusted. We competed a bit more in the second half, which was a positive.

I thought we were denied a stonewall penalty seconds after the break.”