Tommy Breslin will take charge of Cliftonville for this evening’s Setanta Sports Cup semi final with Dundalk at Solitude after manager Eddie Patterson was sacked on Friday night.
The axe fell shortly after the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Donegal Celtic and, in a bid to retain a degree of continuity, Breslin — Patterson’s No.2 during his five-and-a-half-year tenure — has been handed the reins on a temporary basis, with reserve boss Michael Press and former midfield star Peter Murray assisting him during yesterday’s training session.
The club’s Management Committee, in a possible bid to avoid further disruption to the team’s preparations for this evening’s first leg clash, have remained tight-lipped outside a couple of statements on their website, but are unlikely to make any efforts to find a permanent replacement before the end of the season.
It remains to be seen whether or not Breslin would be keen on assuming the post on a full-time basis but he is one of five names which have been linked to the job.
Veteran Reds defender Peter Hutton has twice taken temporary charge of Derry City in the past and, with his playing career drawing to a close, may throw his hat into the ring for a seamless move into management.
Ex-Lisburn Distillery boss Paul Kirk and former Newry gaffer Gerry Flynn — a title winner with the north Belfast outfit in 1998 — could also be in with a shout, though Stephen Small would appear to be the early favourite.
His Carrick Rangers team are currently top of Championship 1 and, though he might be reluctant to walk out with the club on the verge of promotion to the Premiership, Cliftonville’s interim appointment of Breslin could leave the door open for a summer move for Small, who has never hidden his love for his boyhood club.
Patterson’s final game at the helm proved an interesting affair with Donegal Celtic claiming a vital point in their bid to beat the relegation trapdoor.
George McMullan bundled the Reds ahead shortly after half-time but an instant response from Paul McVeigh restored parity.
Conal Burns capped a delightful move to restore the hosts’ advantage soon later but the Hoops hit back once again; Eamonn McAllister converting after good work from Stephen McAlorum.
“It’s a good point and gives us something to build on,” said DC boss Paddy Kelly.