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Cup boost for boss Patterson

By Conor McLaughlin

Cliftonville hope to welcome back one or two players from the casualty ward for this evening's CIS Cup quarter final with Newry City.

The Reds were without the services of Liam Fleming, Vincent Sweeney and the Holland brothers, Barry and Mark, for Saturday's 2-1 win over Armagh City and, while frontman Sweeney is likely to be sidelined for some time yet, boss Eddie Patterson is keeping his fingers crossed for more positive news on some of the others.

"We're hoping to have one or two of the boys back, although nothing is guaranteed," he explained.

"On Saturday, we had to re-jig things a little bit at the back and had one of the youngest substitutes bench I can ever remember naming.

"I have faith in the lads we have coming through the ranks at the club but, at the end of the day, you always want to have your more experienced players available to you and I'm hoping that will be the case against Newry.

"Newry are a good side who will come to Solitude to play football and, knowing Gerry Flynn, he'll have them well organised and well prepared.

"We know it's a big challenge, but we've got home advantage and we have to make that count."

Declan O'Hara will return from suspension following his red card in last week's County Antrim Shield semi-final with Glentoran and Patterson has set the record straight following comments attributed to him in the aftermath of that game.

"I saw it written that I had questioned the referee's decision to send Declan off. That wasn't the case," he said.

"As soon as the challenge went in, I turned to Gerard Lawlor (director of team affairs) and told him that Declan was walking.

"It was an awful challenge and he was rightly red carded, so to read that I had disagreed with the referee's decision was certainly a surprise."

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