Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville squad will be fully tested in huge opening week: Curran

Cliftonville v Glenavon, Danske Bank Premiership, Solitude, Tonight, 7.45pm

Ryan Curran
Ryan Curran

By Alex Mills

Versatile Ryan Curran believes Cliftonville were handed the toughest of starts to their Danske Bank Premiership campaign - but he wouldn't have it any other way.

Following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Coleraine - when Joe Gormley's strike earned a late share of the spoils - the Reds tonight roll out the welcome mat for Glenavon at Solitude before hosting Crusaders at the weekend.

It was an emotional roller coaster for the Reds at The Showgrounds in their opening game.

Still trying to come to terms with the tragic death of former boss Tommy Breslin, Gormley fittingly reacted to his 89th minute equaliser by raising his black armband towards the sky in tribute.

"It was a difficult day and every one of the boys deserves credit," said Curran. "We had to focus on the game and I don't think anyone could say we didn't deserve something from the game.

"When the fixtures were released, we knew it would be a big week. We now have a good squad and it will face an early examination with the big games coming thick and fast.

"Glenavon will be another big test. By all accounts they also made a decent start against Glentoran, playing over half of the game with only 10 men."

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Boss Paddy McLaughlin raided his former club Institute over the summer, snapping up Ronan Wilson and Ronan Doherty along with the loan signing of Derry City defender Conor McDermott.

Curran added: "I think Paddy has a soft spot for the Derry lads. The car is now full coming from Derry, I think we need a seven-seater!

"Paddy has brought in a lot of quality. I suppose it was a good chance for Paddy to put his own stamp in the side in his first transfer window.

"It was an opportunity for him to bring in players he wants. He obviously knew all about Doherty and Wilson because he had them at Institute. They will add a lot to our squad.

"I think we lacked a bit of depth in the squad last season. We didn't have a lot of cover for anyone who was out injured our suspended or basically any player who had lost form.

"We now have a squad of 19 or 20 players you can trust to play in every game. Paddy has alluded to that in training.

"He has told us the everyone will have a part to play at some stage."

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