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McDermott’s training his sights

Conor McDermott says the suspension of the football season provides an opportunity for players to reflect on how they can improve their game, but acknowledges that nothing compares to racing out for action on a matchday.

Tomorrow marks four weeks since Cliftonville’s last outing prior to the coronavirus outbreak and McDermott admits it has been tough to prepare for any kind of resumption with no definitive news of a return on the horizon.

“It’s hard not knowing what we’re doing or what way the season is going to pan out for us,” says the 22-year-old.

“All we can really do is go out and do our own training away from the team and try and keep fit. We just have to wait around like everyone else, really.

“I live down near Culmore’s wee pitch and I’ve been doing my own stuff down there – running and different drills and stuff that Paddy has sent for us to do.

“In that sense, it’s not too bad, I can do that and I have some gym stuff I can do in the house. I’ve just been doing stuff to keep myself ticking over.”

McDermott revealed that boss McLaughlin attempted to pull an April Fool’s prank on his players this week – but hastily added that he and his team-mates were wise to the Manager’s game.

“Paddy told us we were back into training on Saturday, but we all caught on to what he was at quite quickly! He’s been trying to keep our spirits up a wee bit and that’s an important thing to have.

“Keeping communication between everyone is important because it is a difficult time for everyone in terms of what is happening, so it’s important to stay in touch.”

On the countdown to the Reds’ as-yet-unknown return date, McDermott adds: “There is plenty of football content available at the minute and even looking at our own performances in games, you can learn a bit away from the game and we can reflect on certain matches.

“In that sense, you’ve time to think about your performance but, at the end of the day, all we want to do is play football and the quicker we can do that, the better.

“We’ve been up and around there challenging and we’re more than capable of going on a good run, like we were on before this happened. But at the minute, overcoming the virus is the priority and hopefully we can resume the season as soon as possible.”