Red hot winger Jamie McDonagh is relishing his first outing in a Cliftonville shirt at the BetMcLean Oval in Tuesday night’s title showdown with Glentoran.
Paddy McLaughlin’s men lie just a point below the Glens and Linfield at the league summit heading into the last nine games of the title race.
And while McDonagh is eager to keep the Reds in the hunt, he accepts the visitors will have to be at their best and wide awake to the threat posed by former teammate and friend Jay Donnelly.
Read More: Larne owner Kenny Bruce promises full end-of-season review in wake of Irish Cup exit
Donnelly has scored 22 goals in the Premiership and took his overall tally to 25 with a headed winner in Saturday’s Irish Cup win over Newry City.
“I’m good friends with Jay and Paddy McClean and I’d still speak to them now and again,” said McDonagh, who has taken his game to another level since swapping the Oval for Solitude in August.
“Jay’s one of the best players in the league and I always said it when I played with him.. just everything about him, he’s got everything you need in a striker.
“He also scores goals for fun, so we’ll need to be aware of that threat and the other threats Glentoran have because they have a lot of good players throughout their team.”
After warming the bench for most of his short time at Glentoran, McDonagh has shown the league his full potential with an impressive maiden campaign at Cliftonville.
The former Derry City and Greenock Morton forward has been on fire since the turn of the year, scoring stunning goals against the likes of Glentoran, Linfield and Ballymena United.
He also arrowed home a superb winner in Friday night’s Samuel Gelston’s Irish Cup quarter-final victory over Coleraine at Solitude.
Asked what he expects on his return to the BetMcLean Oval, McDonagh joked: “A bit of abuse! No, Mick has them playing well and they’re a very good side.
“One to 20, they’re all good players. It’s not just one to 11, it’s throughout their squad, so we’ve got to be cautious about that.
“It’ll be a challenge, but we’ve got to go there and play our own game. I thought we did well in spells against them the last game, but it’ll be a different type of game at their place.”
Cliftonville beat the Glens 1-0 at Solitude in September but lost 2-1 at the same venue in January, although it took a number of superb saves from visiting keeper Aaron McCarey to secure the win.
Read More: Ballymena United keeper Sean O’Neill on how a water bottle helped seal Irish Cup win
Read More: Northern Ireland U17 forward joins Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa for £600,000
Sign up to our free sports newsletter to get the latest headlines to your inbox.