Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Patterson can't wait for headache

Cliftonville boss Eddie Patterson feels his squad's strength in depth is beginning to show and says he cannot wait for injured duo Declan O'Hara and Vincent Sweeney to return from injury.

The Reds recorded a 1-0 victory over derby rivals Crusaders at Solitude on Saturday and afterwards Patterson enthused about the plethora of talent at his disposal.

"Every manager wants genuine competition for places all over the park and that's what I've got at the moment," he explained.

"Against Crusaders, we were able to bring Stephen O'Neill, John Martin and Barry Johnston off the bench - not bad players to have waiting in the wings.

"We're also still missing Declan O'Hara and Vincent Sweeney, but I'm looking forward to them returning because it will give me a real selection headache, one that I am looking forward to having."

The Solitude boss also sanctioned Sean Cleary's loan move to Armagh City last week and striker Gary Kennedy is taking time out from the club to assist with the managerial responsibilities at his local side, Kilmore Rec, but still Patterson is happy with the quantity and quality of his matchday panel.

"We hit the ground running in the CIS Cup with wins over Limavady and Crusaders, but faltered a little bit against Donegal Celtic and also played poorly against Newington in the County Antrim Shield, but we remain unbeaten and are on course to win the group.

"That's what we set out to achieve at the start of the season and we know that a win in either of our two remaining games will mean we'll have done that and guaranteed a home draw in the quarter-finals."

That they are one step closer to making their target is thanks to George McMullan's 59th minute strike at Solitude on an afternoon when neither side offered much in the way of entertainment in what proved a timid derby affair.