Colin Coates isn’t prepared to give Liam Boyce ‘special status’ ahead of today’s IRN-BRU League Cup final.
Boyce has been the best player in the Irish League this season and if he’s on fire at Windsor Park the glittering prize is expected to end up at Solitude.
However, the six-times capped Northern Ireland international Coates won’t lose any sleep over the prospect of keeping the Reds’ golden boy quiet.
“You can’t really focus on one player too much,” said the Crues skipper. “If you do that it benefits the other Cliftonville players.
“Liam’s a good player, he’s strong, holds up the ball well and takes his chances but there are other good players in the league who test you like Peter Thompson and Mark McAllister.
“It’s not like you are coming up against someone who is miles ahead of everyone else. But he is on form and obviously we will have to keep an eye on him.
“I think it’s not just up to me or the defence to look after Liam and Joe (Gormley). They are going to have to be shut down all over the park.”
The Cup final cocktail is an intriguing one with both sides equally matched and thirsty for glory.
“We know their strengths and weaknesses and they can say the same thing,” added Coates.
“It’s up to us to try and keep our weaknesses to a minimum and exploit theirs.
“They will look to shut us down and we want to do it to them. It could come down to an individual creating something special to win it. If you can create something out of nothing it might make the difference.
“Cup finals are nice occasions for everyone but they bring about the same pressures we have in the league matches — they all feel like must-win matches.
“Confidence is high, the team is playing well and we are creating chances.”