Linfield boss David Healy feels Larne are 'big favourites' in Premiership title race

Linfield manager David Healy believes current Premiership leaders Larne are “big favourites” to go on and retain their Gibson Cup crown, but says his side will do everything they can to chase them down in the coming weeks.
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Having booked their spot in the Irish Cup final after beating Glentoran on Friday, the Blues are back in league action on Tuesday evening as they take on Carrick Rangers in a last outing before the crucial split.

Larne suffered weekend semi-final disappointment, but will have an immediate chance to gain revenge on Cliftonville at Solitude tonight as, just like 12 months ago, they aim to put cup heartache behind them to seal Premiership success.

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Tiernan Lynch’s men won the first three games of the split last season to claim a maiden top-flight title and are looking to string together a dominant streak like the Blues did under Healy between 2019 and 2022, when the Windsor Park outfit collected four consecutive crowns.

Linfield manager David Healy. PIC: INPHO Brian LittleLinfield manager David Healy. PIC: INPHO Brian Little
Linfield manager David Healy. PIC: INPHO Brian Little

If Linfield can win the last six matches of this season, they’ll become the first club treble winners since David Jeffrey’s all-conquering side of 2007/08.

"We are chasing a very good team in Larne and I'd imagine they're big favourites to go on and win it,” said Healy. “We're chasing their tail and trying to hang onto them.

"We've tried to hang on for as long as possible throughout the season so it's in their grasp at the minute.

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"We know there are big games left and we still have to play them, but when you look at it from the outside I know the cheerleaders in the press have Larne as champions already, so we're going to have to fight and battle and at some point, being the underdogs that we are, try and find a way to overturn that gap."

Healy also believes the club’s supporters can have a big role to play over the final stage of this season and hailed the impact they had in Friday’s win at The Oval.

"Going to The Oval was always going to be a big test for us and now we go to Taylor's Avenue on Tuesday before maybe coming back here again next weekend,” he added. “One thing that's pleasing for our players and staff, and I've always said it, is that we're humble in victory because we know it's only one game and there's a long way to go in the season.

"We came down here a couple of times and lost and there's been a bit of frustration in the way the celebrations went, but I get and understand it - they're beating Linfield who they feel is the biggest challenge and fiercest rivals.

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"I enjoyed at the end celebrating with the 3,000 supporters we brought. We have taken a kicking this year in terms of the club and our supporters - our supporters were first class at The Oval.

"If we can bring that level of support, those numbers and they get behind the team like they did against Glentoran, they're a really big help to our football club."

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