Europa League: Cliftonville boss McLaughlin happy to avoid 'nightmare journey'

Cliftonville celebrate after beating Glentoran in the Europa League play-off final
Cliftonville celebrate after beating Glentoran in the Europa League play-off final

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin says he is happy to be avoiding "a nightmare journey" as his club prepare to face Barry Town in the first leg of their Europa League preliminary round tie.

"Going to Wales is a lot handier for the club and the supporters so we are happy with the draw," said McLaughlin.

"We're not jumping on a four or five hour flight and then having to travel four or five hours on a bus.

"We are not playing in conditions we are unfamiliar with either."

"We could have faced teams from Kosovo, Gibraltar or San Marino so it could have been a bit of a journey for us, a bit of a trek," added McLaughlin.

The Reds secured their place in the competition by beating Glentoran 2-0 in the Europa League play-off final in May after finishing fifth in the Irish Premiership table.

McLaughlin is happy to be playing the first leg away from home and believes the tie will be an entertaining one, with both sides aiming to play attractive passing football.

"We're probably happier travelling away from home first. Hopefully we can identify some weaknesses for when they come to Solitude and with a big support behind us on our home patch we can get the business done.

"It doesn't make a massive difference but like any manager over a two-legged tie we like to be away first.

"They are similar to ourselves in that they try to get the ball down and play. We like to try and play from the back so it should be a decent match."

Cliftonville have played three pre-season games in preparation for their European odyssey, beating Derry City 2-1, Ards 5-0 and Welsh outfit Connah's Quay Nomads 1-0.

"Both clubs are in their off-season so from that point of view we are in a similar position.

"The attitude and commitment our boys have shown since they came back from their break has been fantastic. They have come in and worked their socks off after having just a couple of weeks off.

"They have shown their commitment to the club and to what we are trying to do so you have to give them all the credit in the world."