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Shored up

Paddy McLaughlin says Cliftonville will relish the “intensity” of tomorrow’s North Belfast Derby at Seaview.

The Reds’ penultimate fixture of the season sees them tackle Crusaders on Danske Bank Premiership duty and McLaughlin believes that players and supporters alike will make the short journey to the Shore Road in buoyant mood as they target a strong finish to a rewarding campaign.

“We’re looking forward to it, these are always big occasions and the sort of matches everyone wants to be involved in,” he explains.

“The fans always look forward to these games, there’s always great intensity about them. It’ll be no different to any other North Belfast Derby – there’ll be three points at stake and it’s important we go and try to get them.

“We know how tough it can be at Seaview but that’s the great thing about the split, every fixture is a tough one because everybody has something to play for in the top half of the table, be it the title, Europe or preparing for the Play-Offs, trying to find form and momentum and things like that.

“When teams with something to play for come up against other teams with something to play for, it’s great for everybody involved and great for the whole division that matches are kept interesting right up until the final day. Not that a North Belfast Derby needs any of that because they’re always big games no matter when or where they’re played.”

Cliftonville have, of course, already sealed qualification for European football next season, with Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Coleraine mathematically guaranteeing a top-two finish in the Premiership – but the Manager insists that will not be the signal to take their foot off the pedal.

“We’ve two matches left and we want to win them both,” he adds.

“There’s a big push left in us and let’s see where that takes us.”

Crusaders v Cliftonville
Adults: £12
Concessions: £8
General Sale: Here