Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville v Glenavon: Press has the knowledge and experience to get the Reds flying again, insists McAlinden

David McAlinden
David McAlinden

By Graham Luney

Michael Press will relish his role as caretaker boss at Cliftonville and bring a host of qualities to the Solitude hotseat - so says David McAlinden, one of his closest friends in the game who worked with him last season.

Press was the No.2 to McAlinden at Carrick Rangers. Prior to that, he enjoyed success with Cliftonville Olympic.

Now he is back with the north Belfast outfit as interim boss while the Reds board search for a successor on a long-term basis to Barry Gray, who was sacked by the club last weekend.

Press will take charge of today's home league game against Glenavon.

It is possible that it may be his only match as manager, but McAlinden, a former Cliftonville player, believes Press will savour the opportunity regardless of how long he is the manager.

"Michael is Cliftonville through and through. He will be loving the fact that he's striding out there leading his club and he will be hoping that if it is one game that he has won that game," said McAlinden on Cool FM's Football Show.

"I think Michael is going in with the idea that he will take it week by week and that's the way you have to do it, especially if it's a caretaker role.

"Glenavon are a good side and he will find it difficult but Cliftonville have forward players who can win any sort of game."

McAlinden, currently doing scouting work for Crusaders, says Press is brilliant at assessing the emotions of players which will be a useful skill given everything that has been going on at the club on and off the pitch lately.

"He is very knowledgeable and reads the game outstandingly well watching it from the side, but the biggest strength for me is that he can tell a player's mood," added McAlinden.

"He seems to know what is going on inside and how they are going to react to things.

"He's also got a brilliant eye for a footballer. He'll not jump up and down about it but the likes of Liam Boyce coming through at Cliftonville, he had a big hand in it."

Meanwhile, Boyce has an admirer in Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after Burton's defeat to Manchester City this week.

"We know they lead with a striker - with Boyce," said Guardiola after his side's 10-0 aggregate win in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. "He's a really, really good player. They were intense, they were aggressive and they didn't give up."

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