Eddie Patterson has challenged his Cliftonville players to maintain their recent upturn in fortunes when they visit Coleraine tomorrow.
Back-to-back victories over Linfield and Crusaders have elevated the Reds to third in the Carling Premiership and provided the perfect response to the verbal kick up the backside dished out by their manager at the beginning of the month.
Their recent record against Coleraine is appalling, however, and Cliftonville have not tasted success at The Showgrounds for more than three years — something which Patterson is determined to put right.
“You get these things in football where one team just seems to always have the upper hand over another and, for us, Coleraine are that team,” he said.
“Over the years, we’ve produced different levels of performance against them but we just can’t seem to win. There have been a few draws but, by and large, they’ve enjoyed a period of dominance over us.”
The Bannsiders are unlikely to have new goalkeeper Gavin Cullen formally signed in time to step out against the Reds in what is their first match since a 3-1 defeat to Portadown on November 27.
Cliftonville, meanwhile, are able to welcome Dermot McVeigh and Ciaran Caldwell back from suspension after they sat out Monday’s win over Crusaders — and Patterson admitted he’s facing a selection dilemma.
“It’s a nice headache for me to have and not one that I’ve been too used to of late,” he added.
“We don’t have the biggest panel here and very often I’m forced to delve into the reserves for players whenever injuries or suspensions hit.
“When we played Linfield a couple of weeks ago, their assistant manager Brian McLaughlin told me he hadn’t heard of any of our substitutes apart from Ronan Scannell. I think that says it all.
“Hopefully we’re seeing some light at the end of that tunnel as we try to make a strong start to 2011.”