Irish Premiership: Healy wants improved Linfield performance against Crusaders

Andy Waterworth and Mark McChrystal in action during Linfield's 2-0 win over Crusaders at Seaview in August
Andy Waterworth and Mark McChrystal in action during Linfield's 2-0 win over Crusaders at Seaview in August

Linfield manager David Healy has demanded an improved performance from his side in Saturday's Irish Premiership game against Crusaders.

The Blues dropped to second in the table with a 2-1 defeat to Ballymena last week but beat Portadown in a League Cup quarter-final on Tuesday.

"We'll certainly need to improve. The result against Portadown was good but the performance was average at best.

"We need to up our levels of energy going forward," said Healy.

"Our performances need to be better. Defensively we need to be brighter, more switched on and keep the back door shut.

"It will be a good test for us to see where we're at against Crusaders on Saturday as they're doing ok at the moment," added the Linfield boss.

Leaders Ballymena United travel to Milltown to play Warrenpoint Town as they aim to extend a run of seven league wins in a row and nine straight victories in all competitions.

"We know how tough it is going to be at Warrenpoint. They fear no-one and they play really good stuff so we know we're going to have to be at our best to get anything from the game," said United manager David Jeffrey.

"The players have written themselves in the history books by winning nine games in a row but they haven't won anything. We take a game at a time and hope that on each occasion our best is good enough."

"Somebody has to knock them (Ballymena) off their winning run eventually. We'll be setting up like every other week to try and get a result," commented 'Point boss Stephen McDonnell.

Cliftonville confidence

Cliftonville winger Chris Curran wants his side to build on their 5-1 trouncing of Dungannon Swifts when they entertain third-placed Glenavon at Solitude.

"The challenge is to try and go on a run. You look at what Ballymena have done so if you can win three or four games you are right back in it near the top.

"Glenavon have been really good this season but after our win over Dungannon we should go into the game with a lot of confidence.

"If we play as well as we did on Saturday going forward we'll have every chance of beating them."

Ronan Wilson and Jordan Forsythe
Institute suffered a last-gasp 3-2 defeat by Crusaders before drawing 2-2 at Glenavon

Institute manager Paddy McLaughlin meanwhile wants more of the same from his charges as they prepare to take on Glentoran at the Oval.

"It's a tough league - coming up from the Championship we knew every week was going to be tough and there would be days we'd be struggling to pick up anything," said McLaughlin.

"We worked our socks off in the Championship last year to go and pit ourselves against the best in the country and so far we feel we have given a good account of ourselves right throughout.

"We are playing well and can take confidence from our last two performances (against Crusaders and Glentoran) as we look forward to the challenge of facing Glentoran."

Struggling Coleraine will aim to get back on the rails when they face basement club Ards at Ballycastle Road.

"The morale in the camp is good. There is only one place we can go and that's up. We can't go any lower. We have to keep fighting and working hard and see where it takes us," observed Ards manager Colin Nixon.

Dungannon host Newry City in the other game of a full Premiership programme as both outfits try to pull clear of the relegation zone.

"It's a massive game. We need to make sure we continue to pick up points at home," said Dungannon boss Kris Lindsay.

Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday 8 December - 15:00 GMT kick-offs
Live coverage on BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound and text commentary on the BBC Sport website
Dungannon SwiftsvNewry City
Warrenpoint TownvBallymena Utd

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