David Healy’s faith in Linfield ‘mentality and hunger’ for title decider
Linfield manager David Healy will draw on his double-chasing players’ ‘mentality and hunger’ tonight in Coleraine when just a single point away from a Premiership title triumph.
Having wrapped up the Irish Cup on Friday night, defending league champions Linfield need only avoid defeat from The Showgrounds’ top-of-the-table clash for a dream trophy double.
It would mark the Blues’ fourth league crown and second double since Healy’s appointment as boss in 2015.
However, Healy accepts the ‘brilliant’ Bannsiders will host Linfield determined to close the five-point gap and push the Premiership title race to a final fixture on Saturday.
“It’s a huge game,” said Healy. “Coleraine are a brilliant side, managed by a brilliant manager.
“They are going to be there or thereabouts.
“They will be smelling blood off us on Tuesday night, they’ll fancy it.
“Coleraine have had the week to prepare but, hopefully, we’ll get another positive performance and result.”
A league prize on top of cup success would prove a perfect finale to the campaign ahead of Linfield’s full commitment to a full-time model.
“We are rebuilding,” said Healy. “It’s a credit to the staff that we’ve kept a lot in-house this season.
“It’s been a challenge.
“Things have gone on but we’ve shut the door and got on with it.
“The transition for next season started maybe 10 months ago.
“There have been people we’ve not been able to negotiate contracts with and there have been people we have been able to negotiate contracts with.
“That’s down to the mentality and hunger of the players - whether or not they are going to be here next season, they still want to deliver performances and trophies.
“It’s a credit to everyone at the club we’ve been able to maintain the position to challenge.”
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney has managed to cement European qualification but is calling for a final push over the closing days.
“We now have two games to get six points,” said Kearney. “That’s all we’re trying to do at this point.
“With not having any midweek games over the last couple of weeks we’ve been able to train hard on Tuesday and had a normal Thursday.
“It’s the first time we’ve done it this year maybe.
“It has been good as we have two big games left to play.”
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