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Finishing touches

Barry Gray believes his players are motivated to finish their Danske Bank Premiership programme on a high.

Cliftonville face Crusaders in tomorrow’s North Belfast Derby at Seaview before taking on Linfield at Windsor Park next weekend and, having suffered successive losses to Coleraine and Glenavon that Gray admits have put a third-place finish beyond his men, the Manager does not expect any decline in application from here on in.

“Third was the position we were pushing for but, realistically, that’s not going to happen,” he explains.

“We’d have to make up a six-point gap in the next two games will turning the goal difference round. It’s not impossible but I don’t think anyone inside or outside of Cliftonville sees it happening.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t be trying to get those six points anyway. Nobody likes losing football matches and we want to get ourselves up and running game after our last two defeats.

“There was no lack of effort against Glenavon last week, but things just didn’t happen for us. We were off it at important times and it was just another one of those frustrating days that we’ve had a few of this season. It probably summed up why we won’t finish third – too many games like that.

“We’ve now got two League matches left and I’m not sure there’s anyone at Cliftonville who’d want us to just forget about the remaining games because third place has gone. Players want to win every time they go onto the pitch and supporters want to get behind their team.”