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Smyth: Reds are striking it hot

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Red alert: Marc Smyth has hailed his frontmen

Red alert: Marc Smyth has hailed his frontmen

Red alert: Marc Smyth has hailed his frontmen

Cliftonville's dynamic new strikeforce is the reason behind their red hot form.

That's the view of centre-back Marc Smyth who has watched Joe Gormley and David McDaid terrorise defences across the country.

Smyth says the best compliment you can pay to the deadly duo is that no-one is talking about the Liam Boyce-Joe Gormley partnership anymore.

Before a ball was kicked in anger this season the big question was could Cliftonville remain on course for a third consecutive title without the best player in the league after Boyce left for Ross County?

Manager Tommy Breslin's move for McDaid has proven to be a shrewd piece of business and his intelligent link-up play with last season's Player of the Year has fired the champions to the top of the table.

It was Gormley's stunning goal that sunk Crusaders the last time the sides met at Seaview and if the Reds can pinch three points this afternoon they would open up a seven-point gap on their neighbours. Smyth is happy for all the pressure to be on Crusaders and while it's not win or bust in terms of their title challenge, hunting down a Reds side seven points ahead of you is a daunting task.

Breslin's boys have won nine games on the spin and Smyth said: "I know we didn't start the season well but people forget that Cliftonville aren't really fast starters.

"I think the difference for us now is that the two boys, Joe Gormley and David McDaid, have clicked.

"They have developed a good understanding and the biggest compliment I can say to David is that no-one is talking about Liam Boyce.

"David has fitted in really well to the team and Joe has been on fire. Strangely enough the last time we won at Seaview we were in a bit of a bad spell but that win really kick-started our superb run."

While Boyce secured a move to Ross County, some supporters believe Gormley could strut his stuff in England or Scotland.

Smyth knows Gormley's sharp-shooting skills put him in a different class to other Irish League strikers but he's not convinced such a move will happen.

"Sometimes these moves are just not attractive to the player, either financially or emotionally," said the former Airdrie United and Greenock Morton man.

"Some Irish League players can be on decent money and they can be quite settled with emotional ties here. Premier League players in England would be on big money but that's not the case in clubs much further down the ladder.

"There is the lure of becoming a better player with full-time training but Joe is 24 and perhaps a 24-year-old player thinks differently than a 16-year-old lad."

Belfast Telegraph