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Daniel Hughes working hard to impress new boss Lyttle


New goal: Daniel Hughes is out to fire Cliftonville’s title bid

New goal: Daniel Hughes is out to fire Cliftonville’s title bid

New goal: Daniel Hughes is out to fire Cliftonville’s title bid

Daniel Hughes may have swapped a relegation battle for a title fight but the striker's mentality hasn't changed.

The 23-year-old believes the harder you work the luckier you get and he's got a fight on his hands securing game time at Cliftonville.

Boss Gerard Lyttle expects the Warrenpoint Town old boy to rise to the challenge of shining in front of the Solitude faithful.

Hughes is hungry to impress but, ahead of tomorrow's home clash with Portadown, he knows there is pressure on him to make the grade.

"I've been regaining my fitness after an ankle injury but I've got some minutes under my belt which is a start and I know I need to perform well to force my way into the team," said Hughes, who signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Cliftonville.

"You have to be at the top of your game to make the team but it's a challenge I'll relish.

"My attitude and mentality has not changed even though I have switched clubs. It's all about hard work from my perspective and whether you are in a relegation battle or title fight you have to put that effort in to get results.

"That commitment is evident in the training sessions and we must bring that work ethic into the matches.

"The main priority for me is to get into the team and then be hard to replace. I know David McDaid from playing against him and during training as well you can appreciate how dangerous he is while Darren Murray has also come in and he's a top striker.

"With Jay Donnelly there also there's a lot of attacking talent and the competition for places drives us all on."

Hughes, who made his debut as a 62nd minute substitute in the 2-0 win over Ballinamallard United last weekend, still clings to the hope he can fire the Reds to title glory.

He added: "There's a lot of games left in the title race so we just have to look after ourselves and hopefully go on a winning run that will put pressure on the top teams. There's always the possibility that Crusaders will slip up and we need to be in a position to take advantage of that."

His old club Warrenpoint are unbeaten in the league since losing 1-0 to the Reds on December 15.

"Warrenpoint are flying with three wins in a row and they are six matches unbeaten which is fantastic," said Hughes.

"Martin Murray and Johnny McMurray are doing the business for them and if they keep this momentum going they will have a good chance of staying up."

Belfast Telegraph