IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield expect ‘edgy’ final day with title in the balance

Is the season over yet? Linfield manager David Healy is hoping his side can hold on to their lead at the top of the table this weekend.
Is the season over yet? Linfield manager David Healy is hoping his side can hold on to their lead at the top of the table this weekend.

Linfield have the Danske Bank Premiership title within their grasp but they know the job is far from finished as they take on Cliftonville at Solitude in the final game of their league campaign.

The Blues lead second placed Crusaders by two points going into tomorrow’s encounters and Linfield manager David Healy is looking forward to getting the job done.

“It’s a big game, and it’s one we are looking forward to and relishing, I can’t wait.

“Is it edgy? 100 per cent.

“Sometimes you don’t enjoy it because it eats at you and you want it so bad, but it’s great.

“As I’ve been saying for weeks now we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing.

“It doesn’t matter that we are top of the league now the message will stay the same.”

And Healy was pleased with his side after last Saturday’s 5-1 win at Coleraine that put them in the driving seat to be named league champions.

“I’m immensely proud of the players because we have hunted and hunted this down,” he said.

“A lot of people had written us off earlier in the season saying we probably weren’t good enough, but we have given ourselves a chance.

“That’s all we could do and that’s all I asked of the players.

“I said to the players before the game at Coleraine that no matter what happened we had to take it to next week and they did that.

“It was important we gave ourselves a chance against Coleraine because you never know what can happen in football, but the players did a bit more than that today.

“The league was over for us going into the last two or three games last season so it’s fantastic to be in this position now.

“This is why you play football, this is why I wanted to coach and manage.

“This is a huge match and we are up for the challenge.”

And Cliftonville interim manager Tommy Breslin - who only returned to the club this week after Gerard Lyttle left - says he wants to end the season on a high and not hand Linfield the league title.

“The club are obviously targeting the Europa League play-offs and they asked me to come in and help out.

“It is a big couple of weeks for the team, and they have struggled a little bit in recent weeks.

“ Hopefully we can stem the tide and get some positive results.”

“I have agreed to come in for a couple of weeks and that’s that. Nothing more.

“We will take training this week, but I might need my sat nav to find my way to Solitude.”

And Breslin said he had to come back to help his former club.

“I will always help Cliftonville whenever I can, and maybe Peter Murray and I can offer a different voice in the dressing room.I know some of the players, but it is a different team. Hopefully we can get them lifted for the remainder of the season and see what happens.”