Belfast Telegraph

Gerard Lyttle: Reds can't afford any more slip-ups

By David Mason

Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle was thrilled with his team's fightback in the Boxing Day derby draw against Crusaders - but warned there can be no more slip-ups.

The Reds still face a mammoth job reeling back the eight-point gap that Stephen Baxter's Danske Bank Premiership champions have established at the top.

With basement boys Warrenpoint Town about to open the New Year with a trip to Solitude today, Lyttle stresses it's vitally important that his team take maximum points from the fixture.

"People will say we are a banker in this one, but we don't look at it like that," he said. "Anything you earn in this league, you have to work for. This is no different.

"We're playing catch-up. We still have an awful lot of work in front of us, so we really can't afford too many more slip-ups.

"You have to win every game. I expect us to win every game. I'm sure Crusaders and Linfield are the same.

"That's not being arrogant, that's just what is put onto the players. Expectations are high at Cliftonville and that's the way we like it. Warrenpoint haven't beaten us since they were promoted, but they are still difficult to play.

"People think we should be beating them 5-0 or 10-0 because they are at the bottom, but it doesn't work like that. They are harder to play against because they are fighting for everything."

Lyttle was thrilled with his team's response against the leaders on Boxing Day - battling back from a 2-0 deficit to grab a draw.

He added: "It really did feel like a defeat because I thought we deserved to win. Even at 2-0 down we knew we were the better side."

Town boss Barry Gray doesn't intend to hit the panic button - even though his team are NINE points adrift at the bottom.

Even though they dominated the Boxing Day game against fellow strugglers Carrick Rangers, Gray's basement boys still had to settle for just one point.

"It's not all doom and gloom," said Gray. He is preparing for a change in personnel once the January transfer window opens.

Striker Daniel Hughes has joined Cliftonville, with Martin Murray and Johnny McMurray making the journey in the opposite direction on loan.

Former Glenavon and Reds striker Tiernan Mulvenna is also arriving, while goalkeeper Aaron Shanahan will be off-loaded.

Belfast Telegraph


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