IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield boss David Healy insists players should relish acid tests

Linfield boss David Healy
Linfield boss David Healy

Linfield boss David Healy says his players should relish the acid tests lying in wait over the coming weeks.

November presents a stern examination of the Blues’ title credentials.

The month got off to a disappointing start with last week’s 1-0 defeat to Crusaders.

Jordan Owens’ first-half goal sealed a massive victory for the champions at Windsor Park – one that eased them three points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Next up is the visit of fellow title rivals Cliftonville to south Belfast on Saturday, followed by trips to Mid-Ulster pair Glenavon and Portadown.

“It is tough, but they are good games,” Healy said of the November schedule.

“As a player you should be looking at this as being a good month. It is a test for us.

“The league was not won or lost last week against Crusaders, there are a lot of big points to be played for and won.

“The players just need to be ready and understand what it means. There aren’t too many players here who have won cups or titles for Linfield. So they need to get used to the expectation levels.”

Healy has demanded grit and mettle against the Reds on Saturday.

The Blues have beaten the Solitude men already this season, courtesy of an extra-time victory in the County Antrim Shield.

“We need big characters to stand up and deliver on a Saturday,” the former Northern Ireland striker added.

“I want to see more of everything against Cliftonville. I watched them last Friday at Solitude (against Warrenpoint) and they are a good side.

“They have players who can hurt you in the final third, so we need to be ready and be brave.

“We need to be tight on their players and want to get on the ball.

“We maybe lack a nasty streak in the side. The group work hard and train hard, but when we come to a Saturday maybe we do lack a hard edge.

“Other teams have that edge, and it is something we need.”