Linfield’s David Healy looking to future challenges

Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by INPHOLinfield manager David Healy. Pic by INPHO
Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by INPHO
Linfield boss David Healy is building for future challenges as the current Irish League campaign remains under suspension.

The defending Danske Bank Premiership champions held top spot in the table when play was placed on hold in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A resolution to this season remains under discussion but Healy has opted to move forward by confirming contract extensions for three players.

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Shayne Lavery, Mark Stafford and Daniel Kearns have each signed one-year additions to current terms with the Windsor Park club.

“All three were very keen to sign to extend their stay at the club and I know our supporters will be as pleased as I am, that these players have been so determined to show their ongoing commitment to the club,” said Healy on the club’s official website. “The three players are all great professionals with a first-class attitude and they are all really popular in our dressing room.

“I fully expect the players to make a major contribution to next season’s campaign and, of course, they and the rest of the squad cannot wait to get back to full training, whenever it is appropriate to do so.

“I would like to acknowledge the cooperation of David Campbell in the contract extension of Shayne Lavery.

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“These important players who’ve agreed recent contract extensions join several other key players, (including our inspirational captain Jamie Mulgrew), who put pen to paper before Christmas and at the start of this year, Ethan Boyle and Kyle McClean joined the squad.

“Earlier this year, one-year contract extensions covering next season were also agreed for Matthew Shevlin and Brandon Doyle.

“Several weeks ago I reported that Mark Haughey and young Jake Corbett had also signed new contracts and I’m really pleased with the blend of experience and promising youth in the squad that we are building, to take us into the new season.”

Lavery expressed his desire to get back on the pitch in Linfield blue.

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“I have loved my first season here with Linfield and can’t wait to get going again, when it’s safe to do so,” he said on the club website. “When I joined Linfield I said I just wanted to get back playing again and I’ve been thankful to be able to do that.

“We’ve had a good season so far and now we just have to wait and see what happens.

“The European run was amazing for everyone and I’d love another crack at it as it gave us all great memories.

“It’s good to secure my future, so that I can fully focus on being ready for when football returns and doing what I enjoy best for Linfield.”

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Stafford described as ‘grateful’ his feeling at the opportunity to stay at the club.

“I thought that the current unfinished season may have been my last but I’m really fortunate and grateful that the manager has asked me to stay on for another season,” he said on the club website. “I’m feeling good and I want to give it a real good go next season and I just want to play my part in helping the club get among the silverware.

“I can’t wait to get back to training with the lads and preparing to bring more success to a club that I’ve loved playing for.”

Kearns is keen to put his injury issues in the past.

“I spoke with the manager before Christmas about extending my stay at the football club,” he said on the club website. “So I’m just really happy that everything is finally sorted.

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“It’s important to have that bit of security during this difficult period everyone is going through.

“I’m sure it’s a frustrating time for all the players out of contract this summer.

“I missed a number of games through injury which was frustrating for me, but the boys have been brilliant all season really and of course the European run at the start of the campaign was unbelievable to be involved in.

“I think the group of players and the management team made me feel that I really wanted to stay at the club.

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“They’re a great bunch of lads to be involved with, and of course you want to be challenging for trophies every season and being at a club like Linfield, you’re always going to get that.

“I’ve missed football a lot to be honest.

“I think it will be a bit strange at the start when we get back because of the social distancing measures being put in, and who knows maybe even playing behind closed doors for a few weeks (hopefully not).

“But I’m looking forward to getting back at it, once it is safe to do so.”

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