Linfield may well be sitting pretty at the top of the Irish Premiership table, but you won’t find boss David Healy allowing his players to rest on their laurels any time soon. The Blues are at the summit with a two-point lead and with the breathing space of two games in hand over second-placed Coleraine.
But Healy is far too long in the tooth to think anything is done and dusted — and with a busy fixture period ahead over Christmas and the New Year the coach has challenged his charges to redouble their efforts to maintain their place at the top of the pile.
Going into Saturday’s league clash at home to Crusaders — who are third in the league standings — Healy has reiterated his mantra of getting the job done in each game so that there can be no false dawns in the Blues’ title ambitions.
“I think that there will be twists and turns that’s for sure but if we do our job and win our games, there shouldn’t be any twists and turns at the top, and that is absolutely vital for sure. If we don’t do our job, however, it is plain to see that there is a chance that everyone else is capable of taking advantage.”
Linfield go to Crusaders on Boxing Day and then two days later they travel to Coleraine for a keenly anticipated showdown that will have a big impact on the destiny of the league crown.
But Healy is acutely aware that with the chasing pack still to play each other the prospect of them taking points off each other will also play a big part on how the table shapes up come the business end of the season.
“It’s clear for all to see that over the next few weeks, and heading into the New Year, there are massive matches for us and the other teams up there. Crusaders and Cliftonville play each other on Boxing Day and Coleraine have some big games, so there will be points dropped without question of doubt.”
The Linfield players can be in little doubt that Healy is to be believed when he issues a war cry such as he has done for a dynamic conclusion to the festive matches. They will remember only too well that he let them have it with both barrels when they suffered a shock 3-0 home defeat to Coleraine in their BetMcLean League Cup semi-final earlier on this month.
Healy pointed out the error of his team’s ways in no uncertain terms and, to be fair to his players, the response has been ideal in terms of gaining wins. Healy will be hoping that will continue.