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Gerard Lyttle quits as Cliftonville manager to take Sligo Rovers job

Gerard Lyttle's tenure as Cliftonville manager ended yesterday as he took the Sligo Rovers job
By Pádraig Ó Meiscill

GERARD Lyttle was confirmed as the new manager of Sligo Rovers last night, just hours after he left his post at Cliftonville.

Rovers chairman Martin Heraghty said he was happy to confirm the appointment: “Gerard joins us with a good track record from his time with Cliftonville.

“He is ambitious and eager to bring success to Sligo Rovers. Gerard shares the vision we have for the club.”

Speaking to The Irish News on Thursday night after taking training at Solitude, Lyttle denied there had been any contact with the League of Ireland club and insisted his focus remained firmly on Cliftonville.

“I’m flattered to be associated with the post at Sligo Rovers,” said the Reds boss.

“But I’ve heard nothing from anybody regarding the position. My focus remains fully on Cliftonville.”

It had been suggested Lyttle was keen to test himself in full-time football, with the former Northern Ireland U21 international already possessing a pro licence.

“I’m always looking to better myself and to improve, in every aspect of life and football is no different,” he said.

“But as I said, I’ve my hands full with the job in hand at Cliftonville and that’s where all my focus is at the minute.”

“I’m flattered to be associated with the post at Sligo Rovers.

“But I’ve heard nothing from anybody regarding the position. My focus remains fully on Cliftonville.”

Sligo Rovers had been without a manager since Dave Robertson was sacked earlier this month, with the Bit O’Red currently sitting second from bottom of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, four points ahead of bottom club Galway. They host Derry City at the Showgrounds tonight (see preview below).

“I’m always looking to better myself and to improve, in every aspect of life and football is no different,” said Lyttle.

“But I’ve my hands full with the job in hand at Cliftonville and that’s where all my focus is at the minute.”

Events moved quickly from there on in, however, with Cliftonville announcing yesterday afternoon that Lyttle had tendered his resignation to chairman Gerard Lawlor.

“Cliftonville would like to wish Gerard all the best in his future career,” said Lawlor, who declined to make further comment ahead of today’s Danske Bank Premiership game against Glenavon.

The 39-year-old Lyttle was appointed on a permanent basis by Cliftonville in October 2015 following the resignation of Tommy Breslin.

He led the north Belfast club to a fourth-place finish in the league, qualification for the Europa League and lifted the League Cup last season. Although the current campaign has been blighted by injuries to key players, Cliftonville are already assured of a play-off spot for the Europa League.

But since losing to Crusaders on St Stephen’s Day, the Reds have won just three of their last 16 games in all competitions.

Lawlor has signed a contract which will keep him at Rovers until the end of next season and will take charge of his first game next Friday at Drogheda.

Former Cliftonville captain Geordie McMullan and one-time Manchester United player Mal Donaghy are to take charge of the side for today’s game with Glenavon.

The Reds’ injury problems show no sign of easing, however. Jason Mooney is out, while Jason McGuinness and Jamie McGovern are both doubtful. In better news, Daniel Hughes was able to train on Thursday night and could feature this afternoon.

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