Sport Linfield boss David Healy: Big spending Glentoran probably should be higher in the table
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The Glentoran boss insists significant investment at some clubs hasn't diluted competition for Gibson CupGlentoran are one club to have received a major cash injection in recent times following the takeover from British-Iranian businessman Ali Pour.
David Healy has stoked the Big Two fires ahead of Tuesday night's derby by suggesting Glentoran have yet to fully cash in on spending big in the transfer market.
The Linfield boss estimates the Oval club has splashed out “between £150,000 and £200,000” on high profile signings over the course of the past 18 months.
And while he believes the Glens are making forward strides, Healy expected them to be higher in the table approaching the midway point of the season after a “huge” outlay in recent transfer windows.
Mick McDermott’s men climbed into the top six of the Danske Bank Premiership last week, but currently lie 15 points off Linfield at the summit, albeit with two games in hand.
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“It’s a big game against a formidable opponent and rightly so with the amount of money they’ve spent and the investment they’ve made in their football team,” said Healy.
“I don’t have a figure to hand, but from January last year and probably before, in transfer fees alone it's in the region of maybe £150,000 to £200,000.
“They’ve brought a huge amount of money into the Irish League, so Glentoran are getting stronger and they’ve had a lot of money spent on them.
“They probably should be a little bit higher in the league table at the minute, but make no mistake we know the challenge in front of us on Tuesday.”
Healy’s comments are likely to raise the stakes and heighten the sense of occasion around the second Big Two showdown of the season at Windsor Park.
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The last time the fierce rivals met, at the same venue in November, Glentoran secured a gutsy 3-3 draw despite finishing the game with nine men.
It actually took a late equaliser from Jimmy Callacher to salvage a share of the spoils for Linfield who head into tonight’s game on the back of a scoreless draw with Coleraine at the weekend.
The Glens last played seven days ago - a 3-1 win at Portadown - after Saturday’s trip to Warrenpoint Town was called off due to heavy rain.
“Glentoran had a free weekend and we had to battle it out against a very good team in Coleraine on Saturday, so they should be fresh and (have) no excuses,” said Healy.
“But make no mistake about it, we’ll be ready for the challenge and prepared for another massive game against our biggest and fiercest rivals.
“I felt we should have beaten them the last time, but in the end we had to dig out a point even though we were the better side for the majority of the game.
“It doesn’t matter what the respective league positions are, any Big Two derby is a massive game and as a player you shouldn’t need any added motivation.”
While Glentoran struggled for momentum before Christmas, they have won four and drawn one of their last six league outings.
Their only defeat in 2021 so far was a 1-0 loss to Crusaders at Seaview, while they have won their last two against Cliftonville (1-0) at The Oval and away at Portadown (3-1).
Tuesday night's game has a 7.45pm kick-off.
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With a smile born of a welcome win, Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey compared left-back-turned-centre-back Ross Redman with AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini following Saturday’s 2-1 success over Portadown.However, following the fun, Jeffrey was serious in his praise for the professionalism of the summer signing who started out at Portadown before time with Glentoran and Dungannon Swifts that suggested diminishing returns ahead of his Ballymena rejuvenation.