Cliftonville hope to keep top striker Liam Boyce for title run-in

Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin says he would like to see his top striker Liam Boyce leave Solitude for full-time football - but not just yet.

The highly-rated Boyce, who has had a spell with German club Werder Bremen, has led Cliftonville's charge towards a first Premiership title since 1998.

And Reds boss Breslin knows his number one asset has many admirers.

"We would never stand in his way but I would love him to finish this campaign with us," said Breslin.

"We would never stand in his way. I would love to see him play full-time football because that is what he always wanted to do.

"But I would obviously like him to stay until at least the summer."

Breslin was speaking after seeing Boyce set up team-mate Stephen Garrett for Cliftonville's goal in Tuesday night's 1-0 league win at Donegal Celtic.

Describing Boyce's performance as outstanding, Breslin added: "I cannot speak highly enough of him.

"We dropped Liam out of the frontline and put him in midfield and he was creative there.

"He saw passes and his control was good on a poor surface."

Cliftonville's latest victory extended their lead at the top of the table to nine points.

However, Breslin is remaining cautious even though the north Belfast club appear to be closing in on the title.

"There are still 13 games to go, so that is 39 points," he added.

"It can still go the other way so we will have to just keep plugging away and get as many points as we can and see where it takes us."

This Saturday, Cliftonville are away to Portadown, a mid-table team bolstered by the arrival of new striker Gary Twigg who has scored three goals in his first two games.