Irish League kick-off: Warrenpoint Town boss Barry Gray hits out at Daniel Hughes transfer speculation

Highly-rated Daniel Hughes
Highly-rated Daniel Hughes

Warrenpoint Town boss Barry Gray claims “disrespect” has been shown to the club after newspaper reports suggested star striker Daniel Hughes was close to a move to Linfield.

A Sunday paper claimed Hughes – the ‘Point’s top scorer with 19 goals last season – was interested in a move to Windsor Park, despite the player signing a new two-year contract at Milltown earlier this summer after turning down the Blues.

“The club statement is very firm. Daniel Hughes is not for sale to Linfield or to anyone else,” said Gray.

“There is a level of disrespect towards Warrenpoint Town from whoever may have been the source of that information and maybe there’s an ulterior motive, from a disruption point of view. But, at the end of the day, it’s pure speculation and it’s coming from that reporter’s source.

“I wouldn’t and nobody from Warrenpoint would do that to anyone else’s player so you really don’t expect it back.”

While Hughes is suspended for tomorrow’s opener at home to Ballinmallard, along with new striker Stephen Murray, the highly-rated 23-year-old has welcomed the new additions to the squad and Gray says that shows a change in the way of thinking from his players.

“Daniel’s comments are an indication in the change of mentality that we have in our existing players and with the new players coming in. Everyone wants to push themselves on and you can’t do that without competition for places because everyone works better under that level of pressure.

“The players have been brilliant so far. They’ve welcomed the new players coming in and they’ve welcomed the extra challenge that competition for places brings,” says Gray who has brought in Mark Clarke and Shane Dolan from Ards, Matthew Rooney from Drogheda, Nathan Murphy from Dundalk and Jordan Dane from PSNI, along with the aforementioned Murray.

He added: “We’re very confident in that we can still be attractive in terms of style but that we can get over the line with regard to results.”