Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree believes increased competition for places could be just the tonic for his side’s battle against relegation.
The new Stangmore Park boss — who succeeded Dixie Robinson last month — has wasted no time in bolstering his squad in the opening days of the transfer window, with no fewer than five additions secured and he is hoping his men can hit the ground running when they face Cliftonville in tonight’s live Sky Sports clash at Solitude.
“I felt we had a decent squad and part of our problem may have been that we didn’t have enough competition in certain areas, which can lead to complacency sneaking in here and there,” he said.
“We also lost a couple of players with Ryan McCluskey concentrating on his GAA commitments and Joe McCready going back to Institute, so we had to act as quickly as we could to add some new faces.”
Full-back JP Gallagher has returned from Finn Harps along with Marc Brolly, while Glenavon midfielder Ryan Harpur’s arrival preceded moves for brothers Sean and Emmet Friars, the latter of whom is suspended for this evening’s tie.
“It will be a tough tie,” added McAree. “It’s our first ever game on Sky and Cliftonville are up there with the best teams in this league so we’re under no illusions as to how difficult it will be.
“At the same time, we’ll go there believing in our own ability and will try to get a result.”
The Reds are likely to have a new face of their own on show with Diarmuid O’Carroll — the scheduling of the fixture meant his one-game suspension was eaten up when former club Glenavon took on Distillery on Saturday — eligible to play, just days after he netted in a 2-2 draw with RKSV Leonidas in a Rotterdam friendly on Friday.
Donegal Celtic manager Paddy Kelly has requested permission to begin transfer talks with Carrick Rangers striker Anto Lagan, but has spoken out against the rule that permits him to do so.
After learning that Crusaders had met with DC winger Eamonn McAllister yesterday, Kelly said: “What do I do with him if he decides to go there at the end of the season? Do I continue to play him or dump him altogether? If I play him, am I getting a player with his mind 100 per cent in the game for Donegal Celtic? If I dump him, I lose a quality player who we have to pay for another four months. Does that seem fair?
“I don’t like the idea that we may have now unsettled a player at another club (Lagan) but what choice have I when other clubs are approaching my players?”