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Spirit levels

John McGrady has revealed that, while coaching staff are expected to lift players’ spirits in the aftermath of a setback, the reverse has been true of Cliftonville Ladies this week.

Tonight’s Electric Ireland Women’s Challenge Cup second round tie with Linfield Women at Midgley Park represents the Reds’ first outing since losing to Galway United in last Sunday’s Avenir Sports All-Island Cup Final but, despite the disappointment of that defeat, McGrady has been heartened by his side’s reaction.

“It’s obviously never nice to lose a Final, but in training the players have come in and worked really hard,” he explains.

“They have actually had the management going away in a better spirit without even knowing, so that’s a credit to them.

“We always look forward to big games and Linfield is always a big game. The players always look forward to this fixture, that’s probably been a reason for their attitude in training.”

Regardless of the positive mood in the camp, McGrady has warned that his team cannot display any form of hangover from the weekend’s loss because the Blues will be poised to swoop on any uncertainty.

“They would be looking to pounce regardless because they are a good team and will want through to the next round of the Irish Cup as much as we do,” he adds.

“Very simply, our attitude and work rate must be right and when we do that, our intensity always sets the tone.”