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We’re in a better place: Paddy

Ahead of tomorrow’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter with Larne, Paddy McLaughlin has outlined his belief that Cliftonville are in a “better place” than they were for their last visit to Inver Park.

Back in November, an injury-ravaged Reds side – which had just emerged from a late loss to Dungannon Swifts – was undone by a 95th minute winner at the end of what had otherwise been a well-drilled defensive display, but McLaughlin does not foresee a similar approach being taken to this weekend’s challenge.

“The last time we went down there, we were falling into a drop in form and were down in numbers due to injuries piling up,” recalls the Manager, who welcomed Aaron Donnelly back from a spell on the sidelines as a 60th minute substitute only to have to replace him 12 minutes later.

“We couldn’t really open up and have a go the way we would have liked, so we were set up more to contain Larne because we weren’t able to play to the strengths we would have liked to have had. I’ll take the hit on that one, I’m the Manager and it was my decision.

“It almost worked but almost isn’t good enough. The players gave it everything only to concede in the last few seconds.

“We’re in a much better place now. We still have a few boys out injured, but we have better numbers in the squad now and, as tough as the match is obviously going to be, we have players who will want to get us on the ball and play on the front foot as best we can.

“Larne will have been disappointed with some of their results recently, but they’ve got back to winning ways of late and any team going down to Inver knows it’s in for a real battle. It’s one that we’ll look forward to.”