Cliftonville game gets the go-ahead

Larne man Marc Smyth who plays for Cliftonville.
Larne man Marc Smyth who plays for Cliftonville.
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As revealed on www.larnetimes.co.uk earlier this week, Irish League champions Cliftonville are on their way to Inver Park for a big pre-season friendly - and Larne manager Davy McAlinden is confident the Belfast club will be bringing a full squad for the battle of the Reds.

“The match is now definite and it will be played on Saturday, July 26 with the kick-off at Inver Park being at 3 pm. And I am absolutely delighted to have Cliftonville come down here,” said the former Solitude defender.

Asked whether it will be a skeleton team just to fulfil the fixture or if the East Antrim supporters can expect to see the nucleus of the side that has won back-to-back Gibson Cups, he is optimistic they will be near enough full-strength.

“I am pretty sure Tommy Breslin will be bringing down a full squad. Obviously, Liam Boyce will be missing now that he has joined Ross County in the Scottish Premier Division, but otherwise I would imagine the supporters will be seeing most of the household names.

“And, of course, that means it will be a monumental test for the new-look Larne team, but hopefully we will have played a few other pre-season matches before the huge examination of our strength and ability.

“It’s great to get a match like this pencilled into our summer itinerary, a huge challenge for us to focus on and the lads will now be buzzing in pre-season training - which starts this Saturday.

“While Cliftonville will be the showpiece and clearly the top opposition we will face ahead of the Championship 1 kick-off, there are some other nice wee fixtures slotted into the calendar.”