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Young at art

Paddy McLaughlin has hailed the young guns in Cliftonville’s squad for the hard work they have been putting in on the training pitch.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Danske Bank Premiership fixture with Larne at Inver Park, McLaughlin admits the suspension of the Premiership Development League has provided another tough obstacle for his fledgling talents in a year that has not been without its challenges.

“It’s difficult for players to get minutes under their belts,” he explains.

“With the Olympic and youth team not having matches, I’m sure it’s been a very frustrating time for some of the younger players because they want to be playing games and getting their fitness levels up.

“The set-up we have here at Cliftonville means we always want to give our up-and-coming players a chance and we’ve seen that with the amount of young lads we’ve had in and around the first-team over the last couple of years, but it’s tough for them at the minute because they’ve no reserve team football to fall back on.

“We’ve had to bring them in to train alongside the first-team which probably isn’t ideal for them, but it’s not a problem from my point of view because I know how good they are and that I can rely on them if they’re called upon. They’re all working hard and that’s been great to see.

“Obviously we’ve had quite a few injury problems of late and we’re heading into another seriously tough run of games, so any player could be given their chance at any time, but it’s just a shame for them that they can’t get playing any kind of regular football at the minute.”

Larne v Cliftonville
Live stream: Available here (£7.50)