CLIFTONVILLE manager Paddy McLaughlin is adamant that the club try and keep progressing young talent ahead of a busy summer of comings and goings at Solitude. 

The Reds boss admits he would like to keep on-loan Sligo goalkeeper Luke McNicholas and central defender Luke Turner at the club. 

Turner was released from parent club Aberdeen on Monday, but the Reds will face stiff competition for the Dublin native's signature following his successful loan spell at Solitude.  

“It’s important that we try and keep young talent and try to keep progressing it,” maintains McLaughlin. 

“They have played a huge part in what we’ve done this year, so it’s important that we try to keep them on board. But they are only on loan, and it would be disrespectful to their parent clubs to speak about signing their players at this minute in time. 

“It’s important we try to keep bringing talent to the club and it’s always going to help us develop. There is a lot of work to be done now over the season because the boys have raised the bar high this year and anybody we bring in or anybody that stays at the club has got to keep hitting the heights that they’ve set this year, so it’s going to be a busy summer for us.”

Luke McNicholas

Luke McNicholas

Ahead of a few weeks of downtime before European preparation begins, McLaughlin hopes his players will do some reflection and take the positives from the campaign before recharging the batteries. 

“They’ll enjoy the night and hopefully reflect on their season and not just what happened today,” he added after last Saturday’s win at Glentoran that wasn’t enough to secure the title. 

“Hopefully they reflect on the season and what they’ve had, and we’ll stick to the positives and enjoy our break. 

“It won’t be long before we’re back in again. Obviously, with Europe coming up we’ll be back in earlier than normal, but that’s why we’re in the game. We’re in the game to try and compete at the top end and hit the high levels. We’ll enjoy a couple of weeks off, just recharge the batteries and reset and go again.”

Although participation in Europe will extend the next campaign, McLaughlin believes that it is a sign of how well his side performed in the last term. 

“It adds an extra couple of weeks onto the training and adds an extra couple of games but it’s not a bad thing,” reflected McLaughlin. 

“If you’re playing these games, it means you’re doing well and if we’re having 50 games, it’s because we’ve got to two cup semi-finals and a cup final. We pushed the league winners right until the very last kick of the ball and it’s not a bad thing when you’re playing these games. 

“It could be worse if your season was wrapped up five or six weeks ago like some, which I’m sure they’re disappointed with. 

“It’s important to you try and push yourself to the limit. Every time you’re on the pitch and our boys have done that. 

“They’ve earned their rest now for the next couple of weeks and we might give them a week or two off and bring them back in again.”