Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin set for Derry City assistant role
It’s believed the Creggan man was in Belfast this evening to inform the Reds’ players, staff and board of his decision which means he could be alongside Higgins in the Derry City dug-out at Cork City on Friday night.
The 43-year-old, who turned down the opportunity to become Higgins’ number two in the summer of 2021, now looks set to replace Alan Reynolds who only a few weeks ago returned home to Waterford for personal reasons.
Just last week, Higgins stated that appointing someone in an interim period wasn’t out of the question.
"I might possibly bring someone in for the interim period. I might bring someone in short-term," insisted Higgins, "I'm speaking to a few people. Obviously you want someone who's going to be here for the long haul. We'll see what happens. We might bring someone short-term until we get who we want for the longer period."
While neither McLaughlin nor anyone at the Brandywell would comment on the possible appointment, it’s understood talks between all parties escalated quickly on Monday.
It's thought that McLaughlin is Higgins' number one choice to replace Reynolds but with two games remaining in the Danske Bank Premiership and possible European play-off matches, the Reds season may not be over until next month which initially meant any move would have to wait until then. However it now appears the Candy Stripes have got their man.
Speculation increased that the Solitude men’s boss could be joining Higgins’ back-room team when he was amongst the City supporters at Sunday’s entertaining 2-2 draw with Dundalk in Oriel Park.
McLaughlin was appointed Reds boss in 2019 after impressing as Institute manager and during his time in Belfast he has guided the Reds to League Cup and County Antrim Shield glory and just missed out on the Premiership title as Linfield claimed it on the final day last season.
Unfortunately over recent weeks the North Belfast men's 2023 title challenge faded as Larne claimed their first ever top flight title, Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Glentoran meaning the Reds dropped into fourth place in the table.