IRISH LEAGUE: Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle and Dungannon manager Rodney McAree consider transfer options

Dungannon Swifts' Ryan Harpur clears the ball off the line in action during the clash at Solitude
Dungannon Swifts' Ryan Harpur clears the ball off the line in action during the clash at Solitude

Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle and his Dungannon Swifts counterpart Rodney McAree admit wholesale changes are not on the cards during the January transfer window.

Both bosses are preparing to dip into the market but, encouraged by what they’ve seen since assuming their roles in the last couple of months, neither has plans to chop and change for the sake of it.

“We have a good squad here but you always look to add to it if the right player’s available,” said Lyttle after his side overcame the Swifts courtesy of a solitary Martin Donnelly goal on Saturday.

“The players have been excellent for me since day one and I can’t fault them. Our results have been good and even when we’ve not performed to our best, we’ve managed to win games or draw them at the very least.

“I didn’t think the way we played against Dungannon was great, but I didn’t think it was terrible either. It was just missing something and could have been more convincing although, in saying that, we still created plenty of chances but just couldn’t finish them off.”

Lyttle – who had to contend without suspended duo Jaimie McGovern and Ryan Catney while Caoimhin Bonner, Marc Smyth, Jude Winchester, Jay Donnelly and Paul George sat out through injury – admitted he was perturbed by midweek speculation linking him with a move for Swifts frontman Andrew Mitchell as he plots his January shopping.

“I was disappointed to read that,” he added.

“We [Lyttle and McAree] had a chat recently, just a casual conversation, about various things and Mitchell’s was a name that cropped up over the course of it, then the next thing I’m reading the papers about us being in for him. I’m not happy that it was put out there in that manner.

“We’ll always look for good players and on a day like today when we were missing so many, it emphasises the importance of having a strong squad.”

An uninspiring contest was settled when Donnelly diverted Andrew Burns’ attempted clearance into the Dungannon net and, though Paul McElroy had a second-half effort ruled out for offside, visiting boss McAree admitted his men didn’t do enough to merit a share of the spoils.

“I thought the first 45 minutes was the worst we’ve played since I took over, we weren’t at it whatsoever,” he said. “The good thing was I got a reaction at half-time and we competed a little bit better but didn’t ask enough questions going forward.”

On the upcoming transfer window, McAree added: “I’ve been very pleased with the players’ efforts, they’ve worked hard and we’re keeping ourselves in games. It’s just those fine margins we need to address, so we’ll see what options are open to us.”