Linfield manager David Healy has called for big characters and big hearts ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash against Portadown at Shamrock Park.
The Northern Ireland legend must somehow pull his boys out of free-fall after consuming three shattering defeats – something that hasn’t happened for almost 13 years.
Healy’s troops now alarmingly find themselves nine points adrift of Danske Bank Premiership table toppers Crusaders, which makes the showdown against Ronnie McFall’s erratic Ports even more significant.
The Gibson Cup hasn’t taken up residence at Windsor Park for the last three years and, recent results would suggest that is not about to change.
But Healy, who replaced Warren Feeney in the hottest job in Irish League football, is determined to get it right.
“I knew it was a big job I was under no illusions,” he said. “After any defeat, I question myself first and foremost. Did I make the right decisions? Did I play the right time? Then I analyse the performance to pin-point where it went wrong. We’ve regrouped and have prepared for what will be another test at Portadown.”
Successive defeats by Crusaders, Cliftonville and Glenavon have asked questions of Linfield’s title ambitions – and their hopes landing the trophy are hanging by a thread. But Healy is not about to press the panic button.
“I was desperately disappointed by the Glenavon result,” he said. “But I’ve got to nit-pick the positive points from the game.
“There were many positives – we battled back on two occasions to level, which suggested the boys are prepared to roll up their sleeves. The game was finely balanced at 2-2. It could have gone either way. Glenavon probably had a bit more guile in the final third and that’s what got them their winner.
“I don’t like losing football games. It hurts me and I’m still hugely disappointed. I get annoyed and hurt at people saying that Linfield are not the team they were – that they don’t have the same passion and so on.
“Now that I’m in charge, I feel no different – I’m still equally as hurt.”