Former Irish international Healy used to ply his trade in the north-east of England but according to a source at the Leeside club, who take on St Pat’s at Turner’s Cross in a rescheduled League of Ireland Premier Division fixture this evening (7.45pm), there was no question of leaving their influential player go for what was described as an “insulting” sum of money.
When contacted last night, a Hartlepool spokesman said it was against club policy to comment on transfer activity until deals are finalised. A former team-mate of Healy and Behan, Leon McSweeney signed for Hartlepool on a free transfer in May after a stint at Stockport County.
Meanwhile, former player Gareth Cambridge rejoined City yesterday in advance of tonight’s clash which will be attended by Rod Stewart prior to the soccer-mad singer going on stage at the Marquee.
A win for Paul Doolin’s side against Pat’s would see them leapfrog Shamrock Rovers and Derry City to close within two points of leaders Bohemians at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division – albeit having played a game more than their leading rivals.
Having failed to register a victory in their six previous outings, Cork go into tonight’s game boosted by a return to winning ways against Galway United last Friday, with Paul Doolin happy to hail both the performance as well as the 2-0 scoreline at Terryland Park.
“To be fair to Galway, they started well and came out attacking, and Dan Connor had to make a good save early on,” he said. “But I think we got stronger as the game went on and I was very pleased with the way we played and how solid we looked at the back as well.”
Having already experienced both winning streaks and the doldrums this season, Doolin says that the goal now is to bring some consistency to their title bid.
“We want to win the league, and we won’t stop in our pursuit of the league title, but the main thing for us at the moment is to keep clean sheets and try to build another run like we had earlier in the season,” he said. “I don’t think any other team has put a run like that together, so there is obviously talent and ability in this side, but the key to success is consistency and that is what we need to achieve.”
For Cork, Robert Mezeckis and Billy Dennehy are both sidelined with achilles and hamstring injuries, but Shane Duggan will be available following suspension while it is hoped that striker Denis Behan – who picked up an ankle knock against Galway – will be fit in time to feature against Pats.
For the mid-table Dublin side, the aim tonight will be to recover quickly from the weekend defeat to Shamrock Rovers which manager Jeff Kenna feels was not a fair reflection of his side’s efforts at Richmond Park.
“The lads have to take confidence from the performance which I felt was worth at least a point,” he says. “But we didn’t get it and we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to stay focussed, confident, put in another good performance in Cork and hope that this time we get the right result.”
Jamie Harris and Ryan Guy both picked up knocks against the Hoops to add to Pats’ lengthy injury list – which includes striker and skipper Mark Quigley – while John Lester is suspended tonight. Former Cork City man Darragh Ryan is rated 50-50 for the game and Damien Lynch is given only an outside chance but David Partridge does return from suspension.
The match at Turner’s Cross kicks off at 7.45pm.
Up in Ballybofey, Finn Harps host Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town in a friendly (kick off 8pm).