We can't afford any more slip-ups in our quest for League and Irish Cup glory, says Linfield boss David Healy as he comments on his 'respect' for Glentoran counterpart Declan Devine

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Linfield manager David Healy says there is no doubt that Declan Devine has "laid down a few markers" since taking the reins as Glentoran boss ahead of tonight's Irish Cup semi-final at The Oval.

Devine was in the Glentoran dug-out for the first time last weekend and watched his side record a 4-0 victory against Ballymena United.

However, he will now hope to guide the Glens to victory over their bitter rivals to ensure their spot in the Irish Cup final in early May.

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Linfield - who have already secured the BetMcLean Cup - trail league leaders Larne by two points in the quest for the Gibson Cup.

Big Two rivals Linfield and Glentoran meet in the semi-final of the Irish Cup this eveningBig Two rivals Linfield and Glentoran meet in the semi-final of the Irish Cup this evening
Big Two rivals Linfield and Glentoran meet in the semi-final of the Irish Cup this evening

With that in mind, Healy knows his side can ill-afford to have any poor results between now and the end of the campaign if they are to land domestic treble.

He added: “We’ve had one or two slip-ups along the way as have some of the other clubs, but we are now at a stage of the season we can’t afford any more.

“We are now at a real critical stage, in terms of the League championship and the Irish Cup. It’s important we try to maximise the points in the League available because going into the split, there are going to be a lot of competitive games.

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"But our immediate focus is on the Irish Cup, which will be another massive challenge.”

Whilst stating that he was "sorry to see" his friend Warren Feeney leave as Glentoran manager, Healy insists he has full respect for ex-Derry City and Bohemians chief Devine.

“I was sorry to see Warren leave. We’ve known each other since we were about 13 or 14 years of age and we played together for the Northern Ireland national team," he said.

“I’ve huge amount of respect for Warren, he’s a good man and a good manager.

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“There is a new man in charge, but it’s the same set of players. Decky (Devine) is someone I have worked with in the early stages of my coaching education.

“I worked with him at the IFA, I have huge respect for him and I look forward to pitting my wits against him.

“Although Glentoran won at Dungannon, I don’t think Decky was in charge of the team. But he was in charge for their win over Ballymena United, I’m sure he has laid down a few markers."

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