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Ford thinking

Sam Ashford is “optimistic and enthusiastic” about taking on different experiences and playing at new grounds as he familiarises himself with Irish League football.

The English striker, who joined Cliftonville from Ayr United last week, will certainly get to fulfil those wishes as the Reds prepare to embark upon five consecutive away games, starting with tomorrow’s Sports Direct Premiership clash with Glentoran at The Oval.

“I really enjoyed my debut last Saturday,” he explains.

“The atmosphere at Solitude is class and our fans were great, I’m really looking forward to playing there more and more during the rest of the season. That was one of the things that excited and interested me about coming over to sign for Cliftonville; the chance to play in a different League, against new teams and grounds I’ve never experienced before.

“I’ve come in optimistic and enthusiastic about what I can do at the Club. From the first conversations I had with Jim Magilton and Gerard Lyttle, they were very infectious about their plans and how they want the team to play.

“I was over for the Linfield game and watching from the stand, the style of football really excited me because they were always looking to get the ball into the striker’s feet and I couldn’t wait to be on the pitch with them. It was the same against Larne and I really enjoyed being a part of it but I can’t believe I didn’t score. I actually have a good record for scoring on my debuts and I had a few chances but couldn’t quite get one – but if the chances keep coming like that, I’ve no doubt I can make an impact and have a good time here.”

Ashford admits he was surprised to be given the full 90 minutes last weekend but believes there are benefits to be reaped from playing the entire game.

“It was probably three-and-a-bit weeks since I’d properly played,” he says.

“I wasn’t sure how long I’d last but getting the entire 90 minutes sort of showed to me that I’m doing OK and that I can compete in this League. I really enjoyed it and all that was missing was the goal, that would have just topped everything off after a great first few days at the Club.

“All the boys have been very welcoming, the fans were great last week and I’m really looking forward to everything that the rest of the season has in store, starting with the game against Glentoran.”

Glentoran v Cliftonville
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