Linfield focused on the task in hand says David Healy

David Healy admits things are “getting serious” now as Linfield prepare to take on Fola Esch in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round tonight.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 6:01 am

The group stages of the competition are almost within touching distance but Healy knows it won’t be an easy path for his side.

If the Windsor Park outfit overcome the challenge of the Luxembourg champions they will then face either FC Kairat Almaty, the Kazakhstan champions, or Alashkert FC, the champions of Armenia, in the play-off round.

Healy has labelled it as a “mini Champions League” tournament with a place in the group stages the prize.

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Linfield boss David Healy

“We know we’re getting to the serious side of it now,” he told the club website.

“We’re playing against a good team, who like ourselves lost in the Champions League.

“This is basically a mini Champions League tournament at the moment, yes it’s in the Conference League, but any teams we face will be champions of their country.

“Therein lies the challenge for us.”

Healy will return to the Linfield dugout tonight after he was one of several staff members who missed last week’s second leg against Borac Banja Luka due to personal reasons.

Ross Oliver took the reins as the Blues produced an excellent performance in Bosnia and Healy was full of praise for his assistant.

“Even though I wasn’t there last week Ross and I have worked together so often and so closely that he got the performance we were wanting from the players,” added the Linfield manager.

“Ross was one of the first people I brought to the club.

“I know his work ethos, his knowledge and his professionalism.

“Our performance over the two legs has given us this opportunity and we look forward to it.

“It’s another challenge that we are excited about.

“It’s nice to get a few games in Europe because when you’re bringing players in and you’ve the players who worked so hard last season to give us this opportunity you don’t just want to waste that on one trip.”