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Up and away

Following a stop-start beginning to his Cliftonville tenure, boss Paddy McLaughlin is looking forward to getting down to business when tomorrow’s trip to Warrenpoint Town kicks off a testing week of three consecutive away games.

After the weekend outing at The Q Radio Arena, the Reds travel to tackle Ballymena United on Tuesday night before facing Glenavon in an oft-rearranged Danske Bank Premiership encounter next Saturday – and McLaughlin wants his squad to maintain the honesty and work-rate they have displayed for him to date.

“All games are tough and we’re heading into a big run of them,” explains the boss, whose managerial term began with a 1-0 defeat of Newry City ahead of last weekend’s friendly win over Longford Town.

“The players have worked hard in training from the very first night we came in and, after starting with a good three points against Newry, the friendly was another chance for us to have a look at things and give some time to players who hadn’t been involved.

“We’ve got 11 League games left and we want to make the most of them. I said when I first came in that the rest of this season wasn’t about fulfilling fixtures – there are points to be won and some really tough tests to be faced along the way. This next run of games are part of that.”

On tomorrow’s clash with Warrenpoint, McLaughlin adds: “We’ve put the preparation in and it’s a case of taking our gameplan down there and performing. No team makes life easy for you in this League, you have to want to work hard but I know how good our squad is here and if we can hit the sort of levels that the players have been hitting in training and carry them into any match, then I’m confident we can put a good run together.”