Derby delight just part of the prize as Cliftonville target top spot

Cliftonville will be looking for a prize beyond bragging rights from tonight’s rescheduled festive derby date with Crusaders.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 2:00 pm

Victory would give Cliftonville fans cause for cheer at the expense of old rivals the Crues but, more importantly, a return to top spot in the Premiership standings.

Paddy McLaughlin’s side sit two points behind Linfield, the defending champions, having played one game fewer heading into the Solitude showdown.

The Crues will make the short trip from Seaview aiming to become the first side to take points off a Cliftonville line-up with home advantage.

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Cliftonville manager Paddy McLaughlin. Pic by Pacemaker.

Crusaders shared the spoils on Saturday with Carrick Rangers in a scoreless draw, the club’s first since December 18 following postponements against Glenavon and Cliftonville.

McLaughlin’s men kicked off the year with a 2-0 weekend win over Glenavon which had the Cliftonville boss full of praise for his players’ energy levels despite the demands of the festive fixture list and a season impacted by coronavirus and injury across the league.

“I thought we were superb throughout,” said McLaughlin on the official Cliftonville website. “The energy, organisation and desire was superb and a reward for the hard work the players have put in over the festive season.

“Now it’s important we keep that going.

“They didn’t let energy levels drop and were still pushing for a third goal right up until the end.”

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