Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville hot on Burns but Gormley is staying, insists Gray

By Graham LAuney

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray has revealed that he would be interested in bringing Linfield star Aaron Burns to Solitude.

And in an interview about the north Belfast outfit's plans for the January transfer window, Gray has insisted that striker Joe Gormley will be staying with the Reds despite suggestions that he may be on the move.

There has been much speculation surrounding the future of Burns, who is being allowed to leave Windsor Park.

Big-spending Championship outfit Larne are keen to recruit the Banbridge man, while he has also been linked with Ballymena United and Crusaders, though Gary Hamilton has stated Burns won't be going to Glenavon.

In contrast, Cliftonville supremo Gray has said he would welcome the opportunity to snap up Burns, who has a wonderful eye for goal from midfield.

"I don't think there's any top quality club that wouldn't be interested in speaking with Aaron," Gray told Cool FM's Danske Bank Premiership show.

"His record speaks for itself. He's been a top pro for Linfield, and a top pro for the league. The top sides will be looking to have a discussion with him. I wouldn't distance myself from that.

"Whether we have the resources to do it is open to debate. He would certainly bring something to the team we don't have at the moment. Aaron's a great player and a goal threat. He has parts of his game that he can work at but at a different side you might see more things to his game."

While Burns arriving would be a major boost to any side, one man not going anywhere is Solitude hero Gormley.

The Reds saw off Crusaders and Linfield to bring the front man back to his old stomping ground and are determined to keep hold of him.

"Joe Gormley will be at Cliftonville as long as I'm a manager there," stated Gray, whose fifth placed side travel at the weekend to Glenavon in third.

"There's no pressure from the club or the manager with looking to move Joe on. Joe doesn't want to leave. I don't want him to leave. So it's nice and simple, he won't be going anywhere."

For Gray, the target this season remains to take Cliftonville into Europe next season. That's the ambition for Glenavon as well, so tomorrow's game is a crucial encounter.

On a much anticipated fixture, which promises entertainment, Gray said: "It's a big game for us. It'll be an entertaining game. Both sides play attacking football. It may be a day when the best defence will win."

Belfast Telegraph


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