Cliftonville’s Jonny Addis: We have the belief we can win silverware

Reds defender scoops Player of the Month award for January

Cliftonville's Jonny Addis with his award after being named Dream Spanish Homes Player of the Month for January
Cliftonville's Jonny Addis with his award after being named Dream Spanish Homes Player of the Month for January
Sports Direct Premiership: Cliftonville v Coleraine (Saturday, 3pm)

Dream Spanish Homes Player of the Month Jonny Addis has urged his team mates to seize the moment in the final stretch of a successful season for the Reds.

Cliftonville play Coleraine at The Showgrounds today hoping to extend their unbeaten run of thirteen games in all competitions.

Addis scooped the prestigious award after Jim Magilton’s team won all six games in January, conceding only two goals over the month.

The 31-year-old also scored two goals in the month, both against Newry City to snatch a vital late win at The Showgrounds.

The Reds also beat this afternoon’s opponents at Solitude Coleraine in the Irish Cup last month and are in the hunt for a potential league and cup Double.

Sports Direct Premiership leaders Linfield and Larne are in the same position, setting up a mouth-watering climax to the season in the coming weeks and months.

Cliftonville have been a surprise package this season and Addis insists at least one trophy is not beyond them, but the team must not look back at the end of the season and wonder ‘what if?’

“When you put yourself in a position where you are flying high in the league and in the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup, you have to believe you can win something, and we have that belief”, said the cultured defender.

“We are not getting carried away with ourselves, but equally we don’t want to look back at this season with this squad and feel we fell short.

“I had that feeling a couple of years ago when we only lost out on the league by a point to Linfield, so it’s important that we give absolutely everything we have.

“It’s a fantastic season and I’m really loving it. We have put together a run of thirteen games unbeaten, but we are only sustaining our challenge, we’re not making up any ground because the calibre of competition is so high.

“That said, we are aware that we have not beaten either Linfield or Larne this season, and that has to change.

“We are not setting any crazy targets. Jim has talked all season about maintaining our performance levels, we have done that and the results have followed.

“A lot of people questioned whether we had enough depth to our squad to mount a serious title challenge, and that was unfair, in my view.

“Look at the bench we had against Glentoran on Tuesday; Stephen Mallon, Paddy Burns, Sam Ashford, Ben Wilson, plus Chris Curran, Conor Pepper and Orann Donnelly, who didn’t get on.

“We have Kris Lowe and Ryan Curran coming back from injury so if we fall short this year it will be for other reasons, not squad depth.

“From a personal point of view, it was a good month I suppose.

“We kept a few clean sheets and I managed to score a couple of goals against Newry in the month that helped us get the win, and that was important.

“Collectively, we won every game in the month including the Irish Cup tie against Coleraine, and that was a massive result.

Coleraine are a good team and they will put it up to us today, same as they did in the cup that night, and realistically it was perhaps their last chance of silverware so it was a good win for us.

“The rest of the month was about grinding out results, adapting our style, making sure we keep things tight at the back, doing what we need to do to get the win.”

Addis is the senior player at the back and his experience is vital to a very young and inexperienced back line that includes Luke Kenny (20), Stephen McGuinness (20), Sean Stewart (21), Odhran Casey (21) and Shea Kearney (20).

Only champions Larne have conceded fewer goals in the league to date and a modest Addis is quick to pay tribute to the young talent around him, who have stepped up in the wake of Luke Turner’s departure for St Pat’s last month.

“Rory Hale was saying in training on Thursday night that we must have one of the youngest defences in the Irish League in years, and it’s great for me because they do all my running.

“Seriously though, young players bring energy and show no fear, that can also work against you but it has been relatively easy to guide them at the back because they are all good young players with big futures in the game.

“Losing Luke Turner was a blow because he was a massive player for us; he had pace, he was a left-sided player, which suited us very well, and he was so consistent.

Cliftonville's Jonny Addis celebrates scoring against Newry City in the Sports Direct Premiership at the Newry Showgrounds
Jonny Addis celebrates scoring the winning goal for Cliftonville against Newry City Picture: Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Press (Andrew McCarroll/Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Press)

“I actually think we were lucky to hold on to Luke for so long and perhaps he didn’t get the appreciation and plaudits he deserved because he did so well in his first season that people expected that every season.

“I was a bit surprised at the timing of his departure, I thought, if a move is going to happen, it will happen at the start of the January transfer window, rather than late on as it was.

“Odhran has stepped up and has been playing regularly this season. Last season, he had Coatesy to compete with as well as Luke and I, so opportunities were limited and that can be difficult for a young player.

“The difference between Odhran this season and last season is like night and day, because he is getting that game time that he needs.

“He’s got a bit of everything, he’s big, strong, aggressive, his game has matured and he chips in with the odd goal, as he did on Tuesday night against Glentoran, and that is vital.

“It’s important that the rest of the team help our strikers with the goalscoring duties, good as they are upfront.”