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Dungannon Swifts Andy Mitchell deserves a shot at full-time game: McAree

Cliftonville 1-2 Dungannon Swifts

By Conor McLaughlin

Published 22/08/2016

That’s a wrap: Andy Mitchell side-steps Cliftonville keeper Jason Mooney to put Dungannon into an unassailable two-goal lead at Solitude
That’s a wrap: Andy Mitchell side-steps Cliftonville keeper Jason Mooney to put Dungannon into an unassailable two-goal lead at Solitude

Rodney McAree believes Andy Mitchell should look beyond the Irish League when the time comes for him to part company with Dungannon Swifts.

Arguably the Danske Bank Premiership's most improved player in the last 12 months, Mitchell bagged a clinical brace as Cliftonville's stranglehold over the Co Tyrone side was ripped apart at a sodden Solitude on Saturday.

After opening the scoring midway through the first-half, the former Glenavon striker seized upon the Reds' horrific defending of a goal kick to double the visitors' advantage and secure Dungannon's first victory over the north Belfast side since February 2008 - a barren run stretching back 30 meetings.

"Big Mitch isn't the finished article but you can see the strides he's made in improving different aspects of his game," said McAree.

"He's been linked with moves to a few clubs over the last year or so but if I'm him, at 21 years of age and playing the way he is, I'd be looking further than the Irish League. He has what it takes and, if he keeps going the way he has been going, he can achieve big things.

"Maybe it'll take a League One or League Two club to take a chance or him, or maybe a lower Scottish Premiership or Championship side - whoever it is, I believe he could cope with the game at that level.

"He's still learning but you can see him getting better all the time."

Mitchell was one of a host of players linked with a summer move away from Dungannon but the traditional mass exodus of Stangmore Park's top talent hasn't materialised and McAree is delighted to have kept his squad together - but admits he'll not be able to relax until the transfer window slams shut next week.

"I think I might have to ignore a few calls," he added.

"We did very well last season, particularly in the second half of the season, and we've been able to add to our squad. In the past, we've got used to seeing our top players picked off by other clubs but I'd be hopeful we'll be able to hang on to what we've got just now."

Home manager Gerard Lyttle - whose side halved the deficit through Caoimhin Bonner - was forthright in his summary and said: "A performance like that is not acceptable to Cliftonville Football Club."

cliftonville: J Mooney, McGovern, Ives, Bonner, Curran, McDaid, M Donnelly, Catney, Winchester, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: Garrett (Curran, 61 mins), Hughes, Harkin (Winchester, 66 mins), D Murray (McDaid, 66 mins), Lavery.

DUNGANNON: Coleman, O'Rourke, Hegarty, Wilson, Armstrong, Glackin, Mitchell, Harpur, Teggart, Clucas, Burns. Subs: Addis, Fitzpatrick (Glackin, 83 mins), Douglas, Lavery, Hazley (Teggart, 71 mins).

Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon)

Man of the match: Andy Mitchell

Match rating: 6/10

Belfast Telegraph

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