CLIFTONVILLE boss Paddy McLaughlin doesn’t believe that Friday evening’s Irish Cup clash with Dundela is being televised because of the potential for a Cup upset.
The Reds make the trip to Wilgar Park in East Belfast on Friday evening (7.45pm kick-off) to take on the Duns in front of the BBC cameras.
The Championship outfit have already caused a couple of Cup shocks this season, defeating Crusaders at home in the League Cup and thrashing Carrick Rangers 4-1 in the quarter-final of the County Antrim Shield.
McLaughlin will be hoping that lightning wont strike for a third time and his side can negotiate their way their way through a potentially difficult tie.
“If that’s what they [BBC] feel it’s up to themselves, but we feel it is an opportunity for us to show how good we are and how good we can be,” stressed McLaughlin.
“It’s important that we go into the game with the sole focus of getting through to the next round and don’t look at the opposition thinking that it’s going to be much harder or much easier our previous game. Dundela will be treated the same as that.
“They are flying high at the top end of the Championship. I was in the Championship myself for a couple of years and I know how difficult it is and I know to be up at the top end of it you need to be doing something really well. Especially at home, they are very strong at home.
“I know they’ve lost a few players over the last couple of days, and they will be disappointed with that, but they’ve got a squad there that are more than capable of getting promoted this year. Any side at the top end of the Championship need to be doing something really well and we will treat them with the upmost respect.
“I understand it is going to be a difficult game, but it’s one that we’ll prepare for, try to win, and get through to the next round. We won’t be turning our nose up at anybody, definitely not. Dundela have proved that this year alone, if anybody disrespects them in any way at all they are setting themselves up for a bad downfall.”
Paul Haribinson’s side lost four players at the turn of the year with ex-boss Niall Currie brining Chrissy Rodgers, Eoghan McCaul and Lee Chapman to Portadown and highly rated winger Eamon Fyfe joining Coleraine.
McLaughlin insists that they will do their homework on the remaining players none the less and isn’t expecting an easier test as a result of the departures.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on them and the names that have been popping up that we need to be aware of are no longer at the club,” admits McLaughlin.
“They will obviously be replaced by others so it could throw that one in, that the players that are coming in we mightn’t have seen too much of them or heard too much of them.
We’ll do our homework on the players that will be available and like I say, going to Dundela is a difficult tie for anybody. I’m sure it will be the same no matter who is available come Friday.”
Meanwhile, Cliftonville made their first addition of the January transfer window with the signing of 41-year-old goalkeeper Gerard Doherty.
Doherty spent 10 years with Derry City where he helped them to FAI Cup glory in 2012 embarks on his second stint in the Dankse Bank Premiership.
He spent three years at Crusaders, winning the Irish Cup with the Hatchetmen in 2019 before joining his most recent club Finn Harps.
“We appreciate him coming in as an experienced player,” McLaughlin acknowledged.
“I’m sure it was a call he wasn’t expecting – he was thinking about packing in the game altogether, but obviously knowing him well enough and knowing him for a long time he’s dug us out.
“He’s at an elite level, doesn’t accept second best and he doesn’t accept poor quality and that is brilliant to have in our changing room. We’ve got good young players there and the likes of Coatesy and likes of now Gerard and Joe [Gormley] – experienced players that know the game inside out. You can’t have too many of them in the one changing room, so we are delighted to have him on board.
“The goalkeeping department which we have is full of good, quality young keepers and it’s a young bracket of keepers that we have.
“Orann Donnelly is 16/ 17 years of age and Nathan [Gartside] is only 22 himself. It’s young keepers that are up and coming and I just think that Gerard’s experience and know-how of the game – especially at this level - will help them boys develop.
“He’s a top keeper himself and he’s here to play, compete and here to cover and challenge Nathan and Orann.”
Elsewhere in the Irish Cup, Newington host Ballymoney United at Solitude on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.