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Tommy Breslin returns to Cliftonville in push for Euro place

 

By Graham Luney

Tommy Breslin says he's not interested in becoming Cliftonville manager again and he regards taking charge until the end of the season as a positive response to the club's call for help.

Breslin and Peter Murray ) have returned to the Reds dugout following the surprise exit of Gerard Lyttle to Sligo Rovers and their opening match couldn't be more mouth-watering with Linfield hoping to clinch the Premiership title.

It's an appointment that adds extra spice to an already tasty fixture but Breslin, who helped steer Cliftonville to eight trophies including back-to-back league titles during his glorious reign from 2011 to 2015, says he's back to help the north Belfast side secure Europa League qualification.

And the 55-year-old revealed that he did give the decision plenty of thought before agreeing to chairman Gerard Lawlor's request.

"Gerard (Lawlor) approached me and he felt that a new voice might be able to give the team a lift at the end of the season," said Breslin.

"European qualification is important for any club and hopefully we can work hard and achieve that but it's fair to say I did need some persuading.

"I wasn't put in a corner as I can make my own decisions but given my history with the club and everything that had been achieved, it was a decision that needed serious consideration.

"I felt that I couldn't turn the club down when it needed a helping hand.

"It's not a cry for help, rather a request that something can be done to lift the boys' spirits and confidence. With it being a big game in the context of the title on Saturday, that gave me reservations too but there will be European play-off games and we will need to be prepared for them.

"I'll need time to get to know all the players and try to get the best out of them but as for me staying on as manager, that's not going to happen.

"As I have said to people, there is more chance of Manchester City winning the FA Cup than me staying on as manager.

"I'm not interested in that, even if we win every match 10-0!

"I'm just back for a few games to answer the club's call for help."

Reds chairman Lawlor expressed his delight that Breslin was willing to return to the Solitude stage.

"We are very grateful to Tommy and Peter for entering into this short-term agreement and trust they will help guide the team through the rest of the season," said Lawlor.

"We still have plenty to play for in this campaign and, though myself and the Management Committee will be working hard to determine our next manager, we must not lose sight of our remaining targets on the pitch and believe that Tommy and Peter can help us achieve those."

Linfield will arrive at Solitude on Saturday with a two-point lead over Crusaders, who host Glenavon.

Boasting a superior goal difference, a draw will be enough for David Healy's side to pop the champagne corks.

If Tommy can mastermind a Reds win, they'll be celebrating a National Breslin Day on the Shore Road.

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