Liam Boyce could have played his last game for Cliftonville — but Eddie Patterson is hopeful of hanging onto his prodigious young talent for another whole yet.
Boyce has attracted attention from a host of clubs across Europe and Patterson is resigned to losing him, but is nevertheless hopeful today’s transfer deadline will come and go without the 18-year-old packing his bags.
“Liam won’t be at Cliftonville for much longer and I think everyone here accepts that,” he explained.
“The kid’s got class and he’s going to be a real star, but the longer we can hang onto him, the better it’ll be for us because he gives us so much.
“He scores goals, hassles defences and works his socks off from the first minute to the last.”
The Reds are bracing themselves for a late bid for their top scorer, who only made his senior debut last season.
Leicester City are mulling over a move and his progress continues to be monitored by an ever-increasing list of admirers and, much as Cliftonville would like to hold onto him, their resolve could be tested by a big-money offer.
“If the bid comes in, it’s up to the club to assess it and we’ll make a decision,” added Patterson.
“Like all clubs, any kind of money is welcome but, at the same time, I’ll be delighted if we’re able to hang onto him because talents like his don’t come along too often.
“It’s just a case of waiting and seeing what happens and, though I’d love to see him get his move across the water, I’d be happy enough if it didn’t come just yet.
“We’ll all heave a sigh of relief if the transfer window closes and he’s still a Cliftonville player but, even if that happens, he’ll almost certainly go in the summer.”