Belfast Telegraph

Another tough tie is perfect for off-colour Cliftonville, insists Gray

Forward-thinking: Barry Gray
Forward-thinking: Barry Gray

By Conor McLaughlin

Barry Gray wants Cliftonville to banish their festive blues and concentrate on kicking the new year off with a bang this evening.

Defeats to Linfield and Crusaders made for a miserable Christmas for the Reds, whose sole return from the holiday period to date was the point garnered against Coleraine at the weekend.

Gray was disappointed his team's dominance in that fixture wasn't rewarded with victory but wants Cliftonville to build on their performance against Ballymena United tonight.

"The last week-and-a-half hasn't gone as we would have liked but the way we played against Coleraine and the clean sheet are the positives we take forward with us," said Gray, who this week completed the signing of former Dundalk and Warrenpoint Town midfielder Conor McDonald.

"I felt for the players on Saturday because they deserved to win the game but that disappointment was put aside when we came back on for training on Sunday because there's no time for looking backwards with the way the fixture list is at the minute.

"We immediately started to focus on Ballymena and I'm actually pleased our next match is against a good team that's on a run of form - because it means we know we have to be fully switched on and fully at it again.

"They've been going about their business quietly and have probably climbed into the top six without too many people noticing, but their form has been good and they're a match for anyone.

"After Saturday, I want us to keep showing that we can turn up and perform against good teams."

Belfast Telegraph


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