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Paddy Bradley can kick-start Saffrons' season


He may be less than two days into his second term as Antrim football boss but already Liam Bradley has underlined the crucial role his son Paddy will play as part of his management team.

Having spent over a decade in Derry's colours since making his debut in 1999, during which he invariably proved the team's top scorer on an annual basis, Kilrea schoolteacher Paddy is being asked to inculcate the self-belief and consistency that were the hallmarks of his own playing career into Antrim's shot-shy forward division.

No one is more aware than his father, too, that Antrim's inability to turn possession into points is one of the main reasons why the team is currently languishing in Division Four of the Allianz League and rated as minnows in a championship context.

Yet Paddy, having brought the curtain down on his own county career, is relishing the challenge of trying to transform Antrim from mis-hits into ace marksmen.

"Obviously getting scores is what it is all about and there are talented forwards in Antrim. It's important that they gain in self-belief and have the confidence to master shot selection. That is a very important element of the modern game and it is something at which the leading teams are very adept," maintains Paddy.

Dad Liam is certainly losing no time in outlining his priorities as he focuses once again on reviving Antrim's fortunes.

When he previously accepted the managerial baton the side was in Division Four but he took them into Division Two within two seasons before they dropped back into Division Three prior to his departure last year.

While his familiarity with the players will undoubtedly help him hit the ground running in what he views as "a big challenge", Bradley senior he is acutely aware of the problem areas.

"Scoring has been a problem for Antrim teams in the past but I actually think we have some great, top-class forwards spread throughout the clubs," he says.

"I will be looking to bring all of them on board and with Paddy's help we can start to rack up some big scores in games."

While Division Four is regarded as a backwater in the league, the Antrim boss believes it can prove an important stepping-stone in the re-development of the side.

"It's a wee bit of 'here we are again' in terms of trying to get out of Division Four. I actually think this time round we have a better squad of players. We will be looking to get everyone back on board and making a big effort at having a successful 2014," insists Bradley.

"Make no mistake there are a few teams down there who will be fighting like anything to escape. But I honestly feel that with hard work and a sense of togetherness and unity we can make headway."

Belfast Telegraph


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