Belfast Telegraph

Darren Mullen hopeful Newry can ruin the party for new Cliftonville boss McLaughlin

Newry City manager Darren Mullen
Newry City manager Darren Mullen

By Graham Luney

Newry City boss Darren Mullen is out to spoil Paddy McLaughlin's big day at Solitude tomorrow.

McLaughlin is relishing the prospect of his first match as Cliftonville manager and is determined to start with a bang but Mullen has other ideas.

Newry need positive results in their battle to avoid relegation from the Danske Bank Premiership and having secured their first point of 2019 in midweek at home to Glentoran, Mullen wants to build on that in north Belfast.

"When a new manager comes in it gives players a lift and they try and prove themselves to him so, however difficult it was going to be, I think it will be even more difficult now," said Mullen.

"Everyone is expecting Paddy's party for his first game but we'll go there looking for a result. We were at Solitude earlier in the season in a Sky TV game and took the lead and had a few opportunities to increase that lead and didn't take them so we'll be going with no fear.

"It's up to us spoil the day for Cliftonville and we'll do everything we can to make that happen."

Second bottom Newry are three points ahead of Ards. It looks a straight fight between the pair of them to avoid the automatic drop, with the other likely to be in a play-off.

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"We've said all along that we will do whatever it takes to stay in this league," said Mullan.

"We have fought really hard over the past five or six years to get here a lot quicker than most people, including ourselves, would have thought. The last thing we want to do is give up without a fight - should that be through a play-off or the spot above, which we certainly won't give up on because there is a serious amount of football to be played.

"It would be the biggest achievement I've ever had as a manager (if Newry stayed up). We have exceeded all expectations getting to the top flight and being in the Premiership is where we want to be."

On the 1-1 draw with the Glens, Mullan added: "It was a game that we took the lead in and had chances to win it so there was a sense of disappointment, but they are a strong side and the way the game panned out a draw was probably a fair result. I was glad to get a point to stop the rot."

Belfast Telegraph


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