IRISH LEAGUE: Healy challenges his players to step up before it is too late

Healy challenges his players to step up before it is too late.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Healy challenges his players to step up before it is too late. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

It’s fair to say David Healy will be glad to see the back of October.

Linfield slipped to four defeats and crashed out of both the County Antrim Shield and Irn Bru Cup in a month to forget for Healy.

“It has been a tough month, I take everything to heart and beat myself up,” he said.

“I’m in a privileged position, I love managing this football club.

“I would have hoped the success we had last season would have rubbed off moving forward.

“It hasn’t as yet, but the good thing is there is still a lot of games left to play.

“All the players need to start stepping up now. It’s coming to the crunch time now, I know it’s an old cliche that titles aren’t handed out in October or November, but if we keep losing games and going out of competitions we will end up winning nothing.”

On Monday night the Blues lost their grip on the Shield when they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Ards, a performance Healy labelled as ‘unacceptable’..

“I’m slightly embarrassed with the performance we gave against Ards, it was totally unacceptable,” he said.

“We had enough chances to win a game of football, but we didn’t take them.

“We looked tired and sluggish and we lacked penetration and pace.

“To go out of a competition at this stage, a competition which we did so well in last season, is hugely disappointing.

“The players are probably lacking a bit of confidence at the minute, when that happens players go into their shells a bit.

“We experienced the other side of that last season when we went on that winning run everyone wanted to play.

“Players have been given opportunities lately, but have they grasped that opportunity? Absolutely not.

“As the manager I need to put my finger on how we can get our next win.

“It will be a difficult game for us going to Ballinamallard, but coming off the back of Monday’s performance the players should really be wanting to put a performance in and get the three points.

“We are going to go back to real hard work and desire to win a football match, hopefully that will be enough.”

The Mallards have also had a tough month, but manager Gavin Dykes will take heart from improved performances against Coleraine and Crusaders.

“If we can give Crusaders a game and Coleraine a game, we will have some momentum ahead of future matches,” he said.

“Linfield will be a difficult game as they are the champions of this country.

“But I have a honest bunch and I am very proud of them,” added Dykes.