Belfast Telegraph

Red Army can roar Cliftonville through in Europa League, says Curran

 

Full stretch: Cliftonville ace Chris Curran battles for possession with Chris Hugh of Barry Town
Full stretch: Cliftonville ace Chris Curran battles for possession with Chris Hugh of Barry Town
Paddy McLaughlin

By Alex Mills

Skipper Chris Curran believes the Red Army can roar Cliftonville to victory in tonight's Europa League preliminary round second leg showdown with Barry Town at Solitude.

The Reds grabbed a scoreless draw in the first leg at the Cardiff International Athletics Stadium last week, which leaves them in a commanding position in the return fixture.

With an appetising first round meeting with Norwegian side FK Haugesund looming, it's a great opportunity for Paddy McLaughlin's boys to pocket a financial bonanza.

"We are in a good position," said Curran. "I think we must approach the game in the knowledge that we have to win it, so we have to go for it from the start.

"We have a great home record on the back of last season. We know what Solitude can be like when our supporters are out in force.

"They have helped make it a bit of a fortress for us. They can be our 12th man and help cheer us to victory.

"Yes, we are aware of the threat in terms of conceding a home goal, but the players must go out with the mindset of winning the game. It's important to keep a positive tilt on it."

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Curran admits the Reds are a little bit disappointed to be approaching this tie not having pocketed an away goal in Wales last week.

Conor McMenamin, Curran and Rory Donnelly produced the visiting team's best moments and were unlucky not to find the net.

"It was a bit of a mixed bag," he conceded. "We were a little bit disappointed with the result because we created more chances. We were a bit cagey and edgy going into the game, which is only natural.

"But now that we've seen what we are up against, we'll be a bit more positive.

"As we grew into the game, we became more confident. You are not really sure when you go to these sides in Europe. We were operating on snippets of information that we could gather before the game.

"I thought we did enough to win it, so that's why we were a little bit disappointed at the finish.

"However, I suppose you must put a positive spin on it - we kept a clean sheet but were still disappointed we didn't win a European tie away from home.

"It's now up to us, it's in our hands to finish the job.

"I think we must go out and give it a good go this time - we have the players to go and win the game. We are the home side, so it's up to us to take the game to them."

Should they manage to progress, the Reds would be guaranteed another big cash injection.

Curran added: "We are all aware of the financial benefits that come with it.

"That sort of pressure has been with us for some time now, right from last season's play-off semi-final win over Coleraine - and then obviously the final against Glentoran.

"They were all pressure games, but we are getting used to it and the players now thrive on it.

"We all know the importance of it and the rewards that come with it.

"To be honest, it's been a driving force for us - that was reflected in our performances against Coleraine and Glentoran.

"It also showed in the first leg in Wales.

"We played well and moved the ball very well, so it's a matter of trying to put all the pieces together in this game, score a few goals and win."

Cliftonville

Barry Town Utd

Europa League Prelim Rd 2nd Leg (Agg: 0-0) Solitude, Tonight, 7.45pm

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