Cliftonville's search for manager begins as Paddy McLaughlin steps down

Paddy McLaughlin resigned as Cliftonville manager.

Paddy Mclaughlin stepped down as Cliftonville manager on Monday evening, sending the rumour mill into a frenzy.

The Belfast club said McLaughlin had resigned and they will "announce interim arrangements in due course". The Derry man narrowly lost out on bringing the title to Solitude last year, when they were pipped by Linfield on the last day of the season.

However, he did guide the Reds to a League Cup and County Antrim Shield since joining the side in 2019.

McLaughlin has been linked with a return to hometown club Derry City as assistant to Ruaidhri Higgins. His resignation opens the door for a number of potential replacements.

Cliftonville look set to run with an interim manager for the remaining two league games.

However, with European play-offs on the horizon, the club will be keen to replace him as quickly as possible.

Who is in the running?

Jim Magilton

Rumours are circulating that Jim Magilton has been contacted by Cliftonville's board about replacing McLaughlin.

Magilton has been a regular in Irish League football for years having been IFA Sporting Director for seven years between 2003-10.

The Belfast man took over as interim boss at League of Ireland side Dundalk back in 2021.

He has also managed Queens Park Rangers and the Northern Ireland U21s.

Kenny and Dean Shiels.

Two other names thrown into the conversation are father and son Kenny and Dean Shiels.

Kenny is best known for guiding the Northern Ireland women's team to their first ever major tournament at 2022 women's European Championships.

Dean is currently manager of Irish League side Dungannon Swifts. Dungannon are locked in a relegation battle with a resurgent Portadown.

Eddie Patterson

The former Glentoran boss managed Cliftonville between 2005-11, winning the County Antrim Shield twice.

He also won two Irish Cups at the Glens, but has not been in top level management since 2015.

Patterson would certainly know the club and would be a familiar face for supporters.

Barry Gray

The Warrenpoint manager was replaced by Mclaughlin following a run of poor results back in 2019.

Earlier this year his Warrenpoint side were struggling in the Championship and any return to the Irish League seemed unlikely.

However, a good second half of the season has wrapped up a promotion play-off place for his side and some may feel he deserves a second chance at Cliftonville.

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