Cliftonville manager Paddy McLaughlin has reunited with Michael McCrudden who was so prolific for him at Institute.
Paddy McLaughlin believes he has signed one of 'the best strikers in the league' in Michael McCrudden.
The 28-year old left Derry City this week to join up with his former manager at Cliftonville, who are currently top of the Danske Premiership. McCrudden and McLaughlin are reunited just over a year after the pair succeeded at Institute, where the forward was on 18 goals midway through the season before joining Derry City.
McCrudden's time at the Candystripes was blighted by injury, making only 8 starts and 11 substitute appearances for the club during his second spell at the club. His decision to join Cliftonville is a huge boost for McLaughlin who believes he has added a huge talent to his squad.
“At the time Mickey was playing with 'Stute I thought he was up there with the best strikers in the division,” he said. He and Joe (McCready) were sitting on almost 20 goals each at the turn of January and that was a phenomenal record for anyone playing for Institute.
“You couldn't blame him then for going to Derry City, his home town club in a full time environment and he deserved the chance to do that, but when the chance came now to sign for Cliftonville it was a no-brainer. He's as good as anyone in the league and we're delighted to get him.”
McCrudden was one of Ireland's hottest properties during time at Institute and while his time at Derry City did not go as expected, McLaughlin believes that the forward can return to his prolific ways once again.
“He got injured three or four weeks in and that was the worst possible start and that type of injury takes forever to heal,” McLaughlin said. “It was a nightmare injury so I'm sure he was disappointed with that and he probably didn't fulfill his potential at Derry, but that's football.
“Sometimes you get lucky breaks, and sometimes you get unlucky breaks and Michael was just unfortunate at Derry. He was then limited in his opportunities because the team was doing so well and he'd probably understand that.
“He felt that it would be best to start afresh elsewhere and we're delighted he has come to us. What happened in the past for him stays there. He has got to look forward now with Cliftonville and if he can get back to playing the way we know he can play, then we will have one of the best strikers in the division coming on board.”
Good footballing background
This is not the first time that McLaughlin has turned to his former club to boost his Cliftonville squad, with full back Conor McDermott finding a new lease of life at Solitude.
McLaughlin is now hoping that lightning can strike twice with McCrudden finding his previous prolific form to boost his team's own title challenge.
“It's a tough competitive league but they are coming from a good footballing background when they leave Derry City,” McLaughlin agreed. “The full time training everyday is brilliant for them. You see Patrick McClean doing really well at Glentoran and there's Josh Daniels at Glenavon. There are good players in the Irish League who have benefitted from their experience at Derry City.
“We try and identify a player who can bring something we don't have and we are lucky enough because Conor McDermott has been brilliant for us, with top performances. We're glad now to have Mickey on board and hopefully he will be another fantastic signing for us.”
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