Paddy McLaughlin 'focused on Institute job' amidst links to Cliftonville vacancy

Paddy McLaughlin
McLaughlin led Institute to the Championship title last season

Paddy McLaughlin has insisted he is focused on his job at Institute despite being linked with the manager's role at Cliftonville.

The Stute boss played down reports which claimed he is a candidate for the Solitude position that was vacated by Barry Gray on Saturday.

The Reds appointed Michael Press as interim boss but invited applications for the permanent manager's role.

"I've seen the reports and it is news to me," McLaughlin told BBC Sport.

"It's nice to be recognised in those kinds of circles, but I've a massive job on my hands [at Institute] and it's a job that I enjoy doing.

"Until anyone comes to me with anything different, I can't say anything different."

Institute is McLaughlin's first managerial job and he led the north west outfit to promotion to the Irish League's top flight when they won the Championship title last season.

The former Coleraine and Derry City defender also revealed that Stute captain and top goalscorer Michael McCrudden will play when his side welcome champions Crusaders to the Brandywell in the Irish Premiership on Saturday.

McCrudden has been one of the Premiership's best performers this season
McCrudden has been one of the Premiership's best performers this season

The striker has attracted the interest of a number of clubs after scoring 18 goals this campaign, with Derry City, Coleraine and Port Vale believed to be among the clubs keen to sign the 27-year-old.

He missed last week's home defeat by Glentoran through suspension.

"Michael is our talisman and it's a massive to have him available again," McLaughlin added.

"He has been top drawer for us throughout the season and, again unless someone tells me anything different, he will be involved in every game until the end of the season.

"There is speculation about his future and there have been bids from other clubs, but as it stands Michael McCrudden is an Institute player."

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