Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin targets defence of Premiership title

Tommy Breslin and David Jeffrey

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin says his side are not putting any extra pressure on themselves as they bid to retain the Irish Premiership title.

Apart from Linfield, no Irish League club has won successive championships since Portadown in 1990 and 1991.

"I'm happy with where we are and the squad we have so I hope we can carry on from where we left off last season.

"Linfield will want to regain the title but we'll be doing our utmost to try and hold onto it," said Breslin.

"Linfield are the biggest club in the land and David Jeffrey is a true competitor so he'll have his team fired up and will desperately want the Gibson Cup back at Windsor Park.

"We've had a decent pre-season so we'll just go out and enjoy every game and see where it takes us," added the Reds boss.

Most bookmakers make Linfield slight favourites for the Premiership title and the Blues have made major changes to their squad in the close season.

"The league table showed that Cliftonville were the stand-out side last season, though Crusaders were very good too," said Blues' manager David Jeffrey.

"They were quite a bit in front of us so we had to do quite a bit of work during the summer and we'll see in the next few weeks how far we have got in terms of closing the gap."

Linfield begin their campaign with a potentially testing trip to Portadown, while Cliftonville entertain newcomers Ards at Solitude.

Glentoran face Coleraine at the Oval without suspended striker Mark Miskimmin while Crusaders visit Ballinamallard United.

Promoted Warrenpoint Town play Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park while Ballymena United take on Glenavon at the Showgrounds.

United midfielder Gavin Taggart begins a two-match suspension while David Cushley is a doubt as he continues his recovery from a punctured lung.

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