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Hunger gains for Paddy

Paddy McLaughlin says Cliftonville have grown accustomed to living with a big-game mentality thanks to their exploits in recent months.

The Reds’ latest high-profile encounter sees them travel to Windsor Park for this evening’s North Belfast Derby duel with Crusaders in the semi-finals of the Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup – and McLaughlin is looking forward to another high-octane occasion.

“The bigger the games this season, the better the performances from our players and this will be the biggest game of the season up until this point,” he said.

“It’s all set up, Crusaders in a Cup semi-final on Friday night. It will be a brilliant setting and a big crowd will be at it. Our supporters have come out in big numbers all through the season and have given us that extra bit of motivation, so now it is up to us to go and perform.

“We know we have players who can step up on the big occasion, we know we are in good form and hopefully that continues.

“We have maintained our standards week after week and shown a high level of hunger and desire. That’s why we still have so much to play for at this stage of the season and why we want to keep doing what we have been doing.

“It’s clearly going to be a very tough game, North Belfast Derbies always are, no matter where they’re played. Crusaders have a squad full of quality performers but we will be up and ready for it.”

Cliftonville v Crusaders
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