Belfast Telegraph

Experienced Barry Gray favourite to take over at Cliftonville

By Adam McKendry

Cliftonville look set to name former Warrenpoint Town boss Barry Gray as their new manager and the successor to Gerard Lyttle at Solitude.

Gray was in attendance at the Reds’ 5-3 defeat to Glenavon in Monday night’s Europa League play-off at Solitude, and it is understood that he is the favourite to take over.

An announcement on the vacant manager’s position at Cliftonville is expected within the next 36 hours.

The Belfast side have been without a manager since Lyttle left to join Sligo Rovers last month.

Mal Donaghy and George McMullan took temporary charge in the immediate aftermath, with Tommy Breslin then coming in to steady the ship at the end of the season, but Cliftonville chiefs have wasted no time in finding Lyttle’s successor.

Breslin was initially considered for the job on a permanent basis, however the veteran manager ruled himself out of contention early in the process.

Gray presided over an era of success at Warrenpoint, leading them from the Mid-Ulster leagues into the Irish Premiership, where they spent three seasons before their relegation in 2016.

The drop back into the Championship led to Gray’s resignation in October of last year, when he was replaced by Matthew Tipton, who led the ‘Point back into Northern Ireland’s top flight at the first time of asking.

Gray now looks set to return to Premiership management at Solitude next season, where he will be tasked with improving on this season’s respectable fifth-placed finish.

Taking the job at Cliftonville would, however, mean he would have to resign as director at Warrenpoint given they would be competing in the same league.

However, it is believed that he could continue to further his business interests by providing sponsorship to the newly-promoted side.

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