Paddy McLaughlin is looking forward to his first North Belfast Derby and has backed his players to rise to the occasion when Cliftonville take on Crusaders at Seaview tomorrow.
The Reds make the shortest journey on the Danske Bank Premiership map for one of the biggest tests of McLaughlin’s short reign to date but, encouraged by what he’s seen since taking charge early last month, the Manager expects his men to meet the challenge head on.
“To a man, every player has worked hard from the minute I walked through the door and we’ll have to match Crusaders’ work-rate,” he says.
“There’s going to be a big crowd with a great atmosphere and we need to go to Seaview and enjoy playing and competing in matches like that. Crusaders are still chasing down the title and are one of the strongest and most formidable sides in the country, but we have good players too. In every department – goalkeepers, through to defence, midfield and up front – we know we have good quality and we’ve shown that in different ways over the last few weeks.
“A good example of our hard work is the amount of clean sheets we’ve kept, which isn’t just down to the defence or the keeper – everybody has done their bit. The boys in midfield are working hard to help the defence out and the strikers are defending from the front. Then, going the other way, the defence are doing what they can to press us forward, the midfield are getting on the ball and bringing the forwards into play. It’s all been a team effort and that’s the sort of attitude we need to take into the derby game.”
Though it is Crusaders FC’s intention to operate a cash turnstile for the game, you can ensure a guaranteed seat and speedy access to Seaview by purchasing a ticket online here.