Oran Kearney not planning any old pals act for Darren

Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy
Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney has heaped praise on his former teammate Darren Murphy – but is in no mood to hand out any favours in Saturday’s Irish Cup sixth round clash against Dungannon Swifts at Ballycastle Road.

In one of the round’s all-Premiership games, the Bannsiders are looking to build on an unbeaten run that has put a smile back on the face of Kearney.

“We couldn’t have bought a victory six or seven weeks ago, but we are now over that,” insists Kearney – who this week celebrated three years in charge at the Showgrounds.

“We have put together a good little run of results – we are now unbeaten in six games.

“Perhaps we were a little bit disappointed not to have taken full points from the midweek game against Ballinamallard. They had a man sent off and were happy enough to defend deep and let us come at them – we just couldn’t break them down.

“Now we face a different kind of pressure in the Irish Cup. It will certainly be another difficult game – they all are. It provides both club with the chance of progressing in the tournament and the opportunity of picking up a piece of silverware.

“Darren Murphy has done a fantastic job at Dungannon. He’s an old mate from our days at Linfield, but we’ll both want to win this one.”

The Bannsiders welcome back Aaron Canning, Joe McNeill and Gareth Tommins from suspension, but Michael Hegarty will again be missing – he’ll serve the second of a four-game ban.

“I think Dungannon will start favourites, but that suit us” said Kearney.

“They have had a better season than us to date. Our bad run didn’t help, but that’s behind us now.

“January has been a good month in that we came away with three wins and one draw. I hope we can now kick on.”