As our club profile series of the 2019/20 Irish League season continues, attention turns to Cliftonville. New boss Paddy McLoughlin will be eager to mount a sustained challenge for automatic European qualification this term.
|Coleraine||Saturday August 10th||Away|
|Glenavon||Tuesday August 13th||Home|
|Crusaders||Saturday August 17th||Home|
|Carrick Rangers||Saturday August 24th||Away|
|Warrenpoint Town||Saturday August 31st||Away|
|Linfield||Saturday September 7th||Home|
Cliftonville experienced a turbulent 2018/19 season. While striker Joe Gormley retained the Golden Boot (breaking the club’s all-time goalscoring record), his form dipped considerably in the second half of the season. Meanwhile, the club amassed 45 points at home last term (the tied-best record with Ballymena), while away Cliftonville secured just five wins from 18 games. The club was also embroiled in prolonged controversy throughout the season. This term, away from must be rectified and manger Paddy McLoughlin will be keen to address standards throughout his first full-term at the helm.
This Summer has seen Ronan Doherty link-up with former boss Paddy McLoughlin at Solitude. The highly-rated player will be expected to provide substance in the midfield for his new club. McLoughlin has also secured the services of Conor McDermott who joins the club on-loan from Derry City. Young midfielder Ronan Wilson has also been recruited to bolster the Cliftonville ranks. Declan Dunne has returned to Cliftonville following a loan period with Portadown while Jamie McGovern and Ross Lavery have left the club having amassed 273 and 72 appearances respectively.
Appointed in February 2019, Paddy McLoughlin will be striving to deliver success in his first full season in charge. Achieving European football proved a success last time out- this term automatic qualification will be the bosses’ key aspiration. Last year saw McLoughlin get the best out of striker Michael McCrudden. Gormley’s strike in a 4-0 demolition of Barry Town could be a sign of things to come for the striker under the new boss.
With the Cliftonville squad having returned to pre-season just two weeks after the conclusion of the European play-off final against Glentoran, the longevity of this Cliftonville side will be tested. Early ties against Coleraine, Glenavon, Crusaders and Linfield will be a marker of the squad’s progress under McLoughlin. Defensive frailties and a poor away record may be too much for the new boss to address in one summer. A top three finish and aut for the first time since 2014/15 will be the key target for Cliftonville this term.
Cliftonville are 14/1 to go all the way this season- a big price for a club with considerable firepower up front. Part of that firepower is club record goalscorer Joe Gormley- get on the forward at 2/1 to be top goalscorer this season. Prices are available both in store or via our dial-a-bet service.
Check out all of our Irish League odds here, and join us again tomorrow for the next in our club profile series: Larne. Catch-up with our previous club profiles here: Warrenpoint Town, Institute, Carrick Rangers, Dungannon Swifts, Glenavon, Glentoran, Coleraine.