David Healy’s focus on ‘hard work’ as Linfield contract ‘in the club’s hands’

Linfield boss David Healy admits he’s not overly concerned his contract extension prospects have stalled with his current deal due to expire in under a year.

The former Northern Ireland striker, speaking in the wake of his team’s Champions League exit on Tuesday, believes the negotiations have ‘probably dragged on a bit’ but he intends to ‘keep his head down and keep working hard’.

Following their 2-1 defeat by Zalgiris Vilnius at Windsor Park, the Blues will now compete in the Europa Conference League and face Bosnian side Borac Banja Luka at the international venue next week.

Healy’s boys went out on a 5-2 aggregate against the Lithuanian side, who finished the game with only nine men.

Linfield manager David Healy following Tuesday's Champions League exit. Pic by Pacemaker.

Even though they drop down to the subsidiary tournament, the Blues will not find things any easier because Borac were only edged out by CFR Cluj – a side that has qualified for the group stages of the Champions League on three previous occasions.

On his new contract prospects, Healy said: “It’s in the club’s hands. Yes, it has probably dragged on a little bit. My contract states that I’m the manager until told otherwise.

“I will continue to do what I have always done, keep my head down and work hard.

“If the people at Linfield feel as if they want me to take the club forward, I’m sure I’ll find out in due course.

“It’s a challenge from day one that I’ve always relished and embraced. It’s a challenge that certainly doesn’t get easier.

“In any normal environment in any working establishment, the longer you are there, they job should get easier, but it certainly doesn’t get any easier at Linfield – there is always a new challenge around the corner.

“My personal challenge now is to pick the players up for next week’s game, trying to get right formation and pick the right team to get us a result.”

Although disappointed, Healy admitted he was happy with his team’s showing over the two legs against the Lithuanians.

He added: “I will take the positives out of the game – and also from last week’s performance in Vilnius. We will get better. It was only our second game and there were a lot of good things that I liked.

“We can’t be too hasty too early. It will take time for the boys to get going again after facing a really tough and gruelling schedule last season.

“Zalgiris were not the best team we have played, but they were the champions of their country. They were efficient and they have been together for a good length of time. They have two players at the top end of the pitch that can hurt you.

“I thought we deserved something from the game at Windsor, based on our overall performance. We lost goals in both games just before half-time, and that was a big disappointment.”

Healy is expected to have his two new loan signings form Hull City, Ahmed Salam and Billy Chadwick, on board next week against the Bosnians.

He added: “Some of the new players will come in next week, Ahmed Salam and Billy Chadwick, should be available, their clearance wasn’t processed in time for them to be involved on Tuesday.

“I still believe we have assembled a very good squad. It was great to have the fans back for the game, just short of one thousand were at the game.

“Hopefully, it’s a small step in the right direction. We will now prepare for Borac, they will be decent. They were only beaten in extra time by Cluj, the Romanian champions, so they are no mugs. We will be doing our homework on them, that’s for sure.”


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