Linfield boss David Healy insists the pressure is all on Crusaders ahead of tomorrow’s Dansk Premiership title showdown at Seaview.
The Blues make the short journey across town for an anticipated pot boiler – one that could ultimately decide the destination of the Gibson Cup.
Crusaders, the current champions, approach the game with a crucial five point cushion over their rivals. Healy, who this morning is named the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ March Manager of the Month, believes the title is theirs to lose!
“Crusaders are favourites. They go into the game as champions, they are at home and they have a proud home record. If we lose, we lose.
“We will go there with no fear and see what happens. It’s a big game. The boys have put themselves into a position to challenge for the title. I can help them and guide them, but once they cross the line, it’s up to them.
“It’s a good game for us. We go into it on the back of a good run. It’s a game I don’t fear. The players will not fear it. We’ll go there full of confidence.
“The reality is if we lose, we have no chance. It’s going to be a long way back. You only have to look at Crusaders record – they’ve only lost two or three games this season. To be honest, I think it’s a free one for us. We’ll have a little go at them to see what they are made of.
“I know they lost in the cup, but their league form has been pretty good.”
Since taking over from Warren Feeney in October, Healy has put his own stamp on things at Windsor Park. His team were unbeaten over the month of March which earned him his second monthly award. It was in stark contrast to his early days when the Blues couldn’t buy a win in November.
“I knew the size of the task when I took the job,” he added.
“I love being part of this club. Yes, we had a rough time in November. I probably got a kick up the backside with the results, but that has helped me as a person and as a manager. Alfie Wylie and Ross Oliver has been a great help, along with the rest of the staff.
“Perhaps, if everything had of been rosy, I wouldn’t have worked as hard.
“Questions were asked about the players, if they had the character and desire to play for this club. I don’t like people questioning our desire and heart. The boys have answered a few of those questions. I’ll be asking them the questions this time: ‘let’s see how far we have come’?”
“The bottom line is, we are still clinging on to Crusaders coat tails. Five points clear with five games left is a big cushion to make up.
“I admit I still have a fear of losing. It nearly drove me insane last weekend before the cup semi final with Lurgan Celtic. We have been on a good run, I knew that would account for nothing had we lost the game. We would have been back to square one.
“But that drives me on, it makes me more passionate. I try to get over to the players. It just hasn’t happened overnight. The setbacks sometimes makes you that little bit stronger. When people write you off, it helps drive you on. It was like that when I was a player."