IRISH LEAGUE: Healy ‘desperate’ to deliver a Boxing Day win

Linfield boss David Healy
Linfield boss David Healy

David Healy has yet to taste defeat in a Big Two showdown - and he is determined to keep that run going in the big Boxing Day confrontation against Glentoran at Windsor Park.

A whopping 22 points separates the clubs in the Danske Premiership table and the former Northern Ireland international insists that gap must be increased after this Festive bonanza.

The teams approach the game with contrasting fortunes. Linfield have lost only once in their last 12 outings, while Gary Haveron's Glentoran are still wobbling following successive defeats by Ballymena United and Ballinamallard United.

But Healy will be taking nothing for granted. “It’s a Big Two derby - it can be unpredictable," he said. "It’s the same in any game between rivals teams in any league all over the world.

“However, people always say that form goes out the window . . . I don’t think it does. When you go into a game in good form, I would suggest you’ve got a better chance of winning that game.”

Healy has fond memories from his first Big Two clash 12 months ago in east Belfast. He added: I know what Boxing Day means,” said Healy. I know what it means to the supporters.

“Going back to last year, I was desperate for a result in my first Big Two Boxing Day game. We were lucky to get the game on due to the state of the pitch, all the talk was about the game being postponed because parts of the playing surface was waterlogged.

“Thankfully it took place and, as a fan, I was desperate to win at the Oval on Boxing Day. And, it’s no different this time in the reverse fixture at Windsor Park. I’m equally determined to win it - in front of our home fans.

“It will be tough. Whether Glentoran come here in good form, bad form or indifferent form, they will come and they’ll lay it down. We’ll need to show the same character we showed against Ballymena last week.”

Linfield displayed great battling qualities at the international venue, with Mark Stafford scoring, four minutes into added time, to claim the points against David Jeffrey's braves.

“Expectation levels are to win games at this club,” added Healy. “Sometimes people don’t take into consideration the quality of the opposition.

"For instance, Ballymena are the fourth best team in the league at the minute, based on their position in the table.

“We are on a nice little run, so you always want to build on that.

“We don’t score too many late winners. So it’s important to be like the Linfield of old . . . keep banging the door down until you get that late winner. There are a lot of points to be played for, especially over the Festive period.

"It's fair to say, the team I came into last year, would not have won that game. So, there are signs that we have moved forward.

“This club has always had quality players. I believe they are good enough, as a team, to break break the barren trophy spell.”

The Blues will be missing the injuyed Paul Smyth and Mark Stafford, who is suspended.