Belfast Telegraph

Hughes: I can help save Point, then fire Reds to glory

By Conor McLaughlin

Daniel Hughes last night sealed a dream move to Cliftonville but is determined to kick-start Warrenpoint Town's survival bid before he departs.

The 23-year-old striker, earmarked by Linfield for their own Danske Bank Premiership title push, will officially join the Reds when the January transfer window opens but will not be eligible to face the Point when they visit Solitude on New Year's Day.

Until then, he will continue to feature for the table's basement club and has vowed to do everything he can to help ease their relegation fears ahead of completing his north Belfast switch.

"The ideal story for me this season is for Cliftonville to win the league and Warrenpoint to stay up," he explained.

"Before I go, we've tough matches against Glenavon and Carrick and I'll be giving it my all to try and get us six points.

"I spoke to (Warrenpoint manager) Barry Gray and he told me about Cliftonville being in for me and the possibility of making the move.

"I'm delighted to be joining Cliftonville because it's a club that's challenging for trophies and I want to be a part of that. There are proven winners in the dressing room.

"They've won all sorts of trophies and medals over the last few years and they beat us the other night to go into another final, which is another great achievement."

Linfield had looked certainties to land the county Down man in the summer and, following up on initial interest from Warren Feeney, new Blues boss David Healy was poised to launch a fresh bid for his services come the New Year.

Hughes, however, believes he has made the right choice and added: "I'm excited about playing for them because I think their style of play will suit me and get the best out of me.

"When you look at the size of this club, its background and its history, it's too good an opportunity to turn down."

Reds boss Gerard Lyttle described Hughes as a "big statement" and believes he will flourish in his new surroundings.

"There's been talk of Daniel being linked with Cliftonville for a year or two," he said.

"In the last couple of weeks I spoke to the chairman and told him the targets and who I'd like to sign and why. Daniel was very much at the top of that list.

"We've been tracking him for a while and I'm delighted to have him, we're privileged and honoured to have someone like him come in and hopefully boost us.

"I only ever said I would sign players who would better us and he will certainly give us something different.

"I'm very excited about how were going to fit him in to what we do - he's a strong lad, good in the air and technically as good as anyone out there."

Lyttle also confirmed that, as part of the deal, Martin Murray - who has signed a one-year contract extension with the Reds - will join Johnny McMurray in moving on loan to Warrenpoint next month, while Linfield boss Healy is expected to turn his attentions to Dungannon Swifts striker Andrew Mitchell alongside his pursuit of ex-Shamrock Rovers midfielder Chris Turner.

Belfast Telegraph


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