Paddy McLaughlin says his players’ mentality has been crucial to Cliftonville’s bright start to the season but he knows their perfect record will face a stern test when they take on Crusaders tomorrow.
The Reds travel to Seaview for the first North Belfast Derby of the campaign having pocketed maximum points from their three Danske Bank Premiership outings so far and, while high on confidence, McLaughlin says his team will have to scrap for any rewards this weekend.
“Since the players reported back in pre-season, I’ve sensed a different mentality,” he explains.
“They’ve been superb in training and in the games and the new additions have added to that.
“When you’ve won three in a row, you go into any game full of confidence but we’re also very aware of how good Crusaders are. In a North Belfast Derby, form doesn’t matter and both teams will go at it from the first whistle.”
Cliftonville have thus far claimed victories over Carrick Rangers, Coleraine and Glentoran and, as they prepare to embark upon their first away day of the campaign, the Manager has warned against reading too much into early-season form.
“It’s only been three games, which is nothing,” adds McLaughlin.
“You don’t look at the league table until there’s 10 or 15 matches played, so I don’t think anybody’s getting too carried away. They should be confident and I’m sure the fans are buzzing but we’re realistic in what we’re doing here and we know this will be another battle and another tough game and that’s the only thing we’re concerned with.”
Admission to this fixture is by ticket only with sales available online at crusadersfctickets.com.