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Warning signs

John McGrady says the presence of some former Cliftonville Ladies players in the Larne Women’s team is a reminder of the threat tonight’s visitors pose.

Having won their game in hand against Linfield to narrow the gap at the top of the Sports Direct Women’s Premiership to three points, the Reds will bid to further eat into Glentoran’s advantage by getting the better of a Larne side that has recently recruited both Erin Montgomery and Bernie Ferreira.

Montgomery was part of the Cliftonville squad that won the Premiership title last season, while Ferreira made her senior bow with the Reds this term and McGrady is fully aware of how well the Inver outfit have recently strengthened.

“Larne signed a few players in the window, some ex-Cliftonville ones,” he explains.

“Both Erin and Bernie have had an impact for Larne and we know that they pose an attacking threat through them. We also know that they have the ability to work hard behind the ball and wait for their chances to attack, so we keep hitting home the message of the fundamentals of our game, which is hard work and staying together as a team.

“In the women’s season, you jump from Cup to League so often that you have no option other than to focus on the next game – that is Larne and that’s what the players and staff will be focused on.”

With the Premiership campaign preparing to enter its final furlong, McGrady – whose side have a League Cup Final encounter with Sion Swifts as well as a hotly-anticipated Champions League date with Benfica on their upcoming schedule – admits there are big differences between challenging for a title and attempting to defend one.

“I think it makes the every team much hungrier when playing against you,” he says.

“You know in the opening of all the games, it’s going to be frantic as teams want to try and take the game to us. We have to focus on each game as they come and only worry about what we can control which is our own performance.”

Cliftonville Ladies v Larne Women (7.45pm)
Adults: £4
Concessions: £1