PADDY McLaughlin has called on the Cliftonville support to come out and back the team on Saturday as they hope to maintain their solid start to the season.
Warrenpoint Town make the journey to Solitude (3pm kick-off) hoping to end a run of four straight defeats after their opening day win over Ballymena United.
McLaughlin is expecting a tough afternoon from Barry Gray’s side and has called for another vocal backing from the home support.
“Like I’ve said before, every game is tough in the Irish League,” said McLaughlin.
“There’s no games you look forward to thinking it will be easy. Saturday will be no different, it will be a tough game here and hopefully there is a big crowd here because the players have responded to the big crowd and the atmosphere they create over the last couple of weeks.
“We’re playing good stuff at home and we’ve got some great results so hopefully the fans will be out in force, getting behind our lads because they appreciate the support and hopefully we can get another three points. It will be tough but we’re in good form at the minute and we’re looking forward to it.”
For the second midweek in-a-row, McLaughlin chopped and changed for their Cup win over Knockbreda in the County Antrim Shield and he was satisfied from what he saw.
“It was good because we were able to change a couple of players round and rotate a couple of players who deserve to play, and they went in and did the business,” he reflected.
“It was a good night all round. There were no injuries, no silly bookings, a clean sheet and nine goals. I couldn’t have asked for any more of the boys – they were superb, the boys that came in tonight. We’ve set a good standard so far for the season and we know we can be better to be honest.
“We can play better for longer periods, but players have come in and kept the standard high and done themselves no harm at all in terms of going into Saturday’s game, so the competition is high.
“Players have put themselves in the frame for Saturday’s game and that’s what we’ll concentrate on now. We’ll dust ourselves down and get ready for another tough game.”
Youngster Conor Scannell bagged two goals on his first competitive start and McLaughlin paid tribute to the development coaches at the club for continuing to attract and bring young talent through the academy.
“It’s good to see all the players coming in and doing well,” acknowledges McLaughlin.
“It’s important to see everyone do well. Coatesy has been fantastic since he’s came here, and he’s been involved in another clean sheet and got a couple of goals.
“Paul O’Neill is the same coming back from injury and Scannell coming in - I’m not sure whether it was his competitive debut - but it’s a brilliant performance from him and young Casey as well. They’re all top players and that’s why we’ve great confidence in them.
“If they weren’t good players, they wouldn’t be on the pitch so fair play to them.
“They train hard and they play well and look after themselves really well. The future is bright for the club, you see so many young players coming through and it’s good to see because the club need that.
“You’ve got to give credit to the development coaches at the club – they’re fantastic in what they do. They produce young players every year and they attract young talent every year. You’ve got to give them a mention, they’ve been fantastic and long may that continue.”
With progression to the next stage of the League Cup and County Antrim Shield, McLaughlin outlined his desire to bring back further success and isn’t concerned what trophy comes in.
“A trophy is a trophy as far as we’re concerned - we want to win them all,” McLaughlin insists.
“Every competition is tough because there are so many good sides and there is very little between the top teams right throughout the divisions.
“Any trophies you win, you appreciate it and enjoy it because it is a good experience for the players.
“Obviously we won the competition a couple of years ago now so it’s good to talk about winning trophies and winning medals.
“You’ve got to do that as players and it’s important we try and target and be as successful as we can because that’s why we’re here and that’s what the fans want. That’s what we try and give them.”