Injured Coleraine captain Howard Beverland set to be sidelined for six weeks

Coleraine captain Howard Beverland
Coleraine captain Howard Beverland

Coleraine skipper Howard Beverland could be out for six weeks after sustaining knee ligament damage.

The 24-year-old is one of a posse of players that will miss Thursday’s Danske Bank Premiership showdown against Ronnie McFall’s Portadown at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds.

Ruairi Harkin, who recently agreed a new contract with Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney, is also struggling due to injury along with Darren McAuley and Neil McCafferty, who hobbled out of the Boxing Day defeat by rivals Ballymena United.

“It’s difficult to know whether a few of them will recover in time,” said Kearney. “Beverland is obviously out. You simply can’t rush these things.

“We have a duty to look after the players. If they come back too early, it would simply aggravate the problem.

“I’ll leave the decision to our medical team.”

Kearney is hoping to do some wheeling and dealing in the transfer market.

He recently lost Paul Owens, who has taken up the player-manager role at Limavady United, while the versatile Ryan McIlmoyle was forced to retire due to injury.

On the plus side, Kearney has agreed new deals with Harking, Shane McGinty and Ian Parkhill.

“We’re obviously looking to strengthen and it would be nice to bring in a of players,” he added. We’ve lost a few in the past couple of weeks, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

“It might be the case that we have to wait on one to trigger a move.”

Meanwhile, Ports boss Ronnie McFall is confident his boys can kick on from their Boxing Day disappointment when they shipped a last minute goal which earned rivals Glenavon a 3-3 draw.

McFall will be without goalkeeper David Miskelly today, who was dismissed in the final minute against the Lurgan Blues.

“We played well against Glenavon and were the better side, so disappointed to lose a late goal,” said McFall.

“The pitch conditions were horrendous so that contributed.”

Paul McElroy, who has signed from Linfield, will be for the Ports’ home game against Institute on Saturday following the completion of his transfer paperwork.