Goalkeeper hoping another successful loan spell can help take him one step closer to Cliftonville dream
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The 20-year-old has progressed through the Reds’ youth ranks and been involved with the first-team squad on a number of occasions.
As a local boy, Breen has aspirations of becoming the number one choice between the posts at Solitude and the crucial experience he’s gathering at Dixon Park could go a long way towards helping him achieve it.
He made 34 appearances for Ballyclare in all competitions last term during what was his first season in senior football, starring as Stephen Small’s side make it to the Irish Cup quarter-finals where they brought Ballymena United to extra-time before losing 3-1.
Breen saved an 87th-minute Davy McDaid penalty in that encounter to keep Ballyclare’s hopes alive and feels the past 12 months have helped massively with his development.
"The main thing for me is about getting out and playing games again,” he said. “I played a lot of games last year and had a decent season.
"It probably took me to Christmas to find my feet with it being my first season in senior football, but it was really good.
"It massively helped me. The jump from U20s to senior football is massive. You can't play U20s and then go and expect to challenge for a place in Cliftonville's first-team - you have to go and do your learning, especially as a goalkeeper.
"You have to make a couple of mistakes so you know how to deal with things in the future.
"It was brilliant and I'm happy to be back. This year I know what's expected and what the Championship is all about so I can really push on.
"Hopefully (it can help me push for a place at Cliftonville). I'm a local boy so I would love to play for Cliftonville one day - that's the aim.
"Football is football and it can throw funny things up at you. It may happen, it may not, but I'm just going to keep doing my thing and see what happens."
The staff at Cliftonville will be keeping a close eye on Breen’s progression over the next few months, and in particular, goalkeeping coach Rob Murdie, who moved to Solitude this summer from Ballyclare.
"Cliftonville's new goalkeeping coach Rob Murdie was at Ballyclare so I have a good relationship with him and talk a lot with him,” added Breen. “We send goalkeeping things on and we would both give our opinions on it.
"Jim (Magilton) has been good. We had a good chat on the phone before the loan was sorted and it's only to January this year so we will see what happens come then.
"He said it's about another step in my development, about getting more games and I agree with him.
"Once David (Odumosu) came in there wasn't much point in me sticking around to be a number three when I could go and get more games and come back better equipped to challenge the other two boys."
Ballyclare finished sixth last season after losing only one of their final 12 league meetings and Breen wants to pick up from where they left off, starting with Saturday’s home clash against newcomers Bangor.
"For us it's all about bettering last year - can we challenge to be in that play-off spot and hold our own every week,” he said. “Consistency is massive.
"If you can get that consistency on a weekly basis then you have a chance. There are great teams in the league this year with the likes of Portadown, Annagh, Welders.
“It's unforgiving but you wouldn't have it any other way."