Having faced two thorough examinations already this week, boss Barry Gray doesn’t expect Cliftonville to find the going any easier when they face Carrick Rangers tomorrow.
The Reds travel to The Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena on the back of victories over Crusaders and Linfield, but the Manager has warned against any under-estimation of the east Antrim side – who have recorded morale-boosting wins over Ards and Dungannon Swifts recently – as they bid to claw themselves out of the Danske Bank Premiership’s relegation zone.
“It’s always very tough down in Carrick and they force you to work hard for anything you get so, first and foremost, that’s the attitude we need to take into the game,” says Gray.
“We’ve been down there twice this season already and both games were quite similar – serious battles and a bit of a slog on a tight pitch. There can be no surprises from that side of it, because that’s how it’s going to be again.”
Since the sides last locked horns in mid-November, the Gers have added a plethora of new faces to their squad but, while acknowledging that presents a different sort of challenge on the day, Gray maintains the message to his own players will remain the same.
“We always try to focus on what we do,” he adds.
“We work on our own preparation and making sure we’re set up and ready to go out and perform. Clearly Carrick will be out to put it up to us, especially down there, but we have to focus on doing our own jobs and going through everything we can to make sure we get the result we want.”