IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine boss Oran Kearney wary of Lurgan Blues

Oran Kearney
Oran Kearney

Oran Kearney is bracing himself for a tough test when in-form Glenavon travel to high-flying Coleraine on Saturday.

The Bannsiders have clocked up maximum points to date with four wins out of four.

But Glenavon are only two points behind Kearney’s men after some impressive performances in the first month of action.

“We are expecting a very tough test from Glenavonsaid Kearney..

“They have had a great start to the season. Going by Gary’s comments from last Friday night they were unfortunate not to beat Glentoran and possibly be sitting on the same points as us.

“They have strengthened well in the summer, you can see that with how well they have done so far.

“But it’s always a tough duel against Glenavon, and we will expect nothing less come Saturday.

“You need to make your home ground a fortress. We had a great record last year, and one that we worked tremendously hard to achieve, and this year is no different.

“We want to have that same aura about this place with teams coming here fearing the worst.”

Coleraine eased past Larne in their midweek BetMcLean League Cup clash at The Showgrounds with Kearney ringing the changes in the starting line up.

One who definitely took his opportunity was striker Joe McCready, who scored a brace as he stepped in to fill the gap left by Jamie McGonigle, who is currently on international duty with Northern Ireland Under-21s.

“That was the gauntlet that was laid down to Joe and a few others tonight. They maybe haven’t had as much action as they would have wanted, so it was up to them to leave a good taste in the mouth,” explained Kearney.

“All the guys who have stepped in tonight have put in a real good shift. It shows we can cope with guys missing, I think we had seven players unavailable tonight. It’s important that you can call on all aspects of your squad and we did that tonight.”

Friday’s thrilling 2-2 draw served up the latest evidence of an attacking strength within the Glenavon squad which has produced 17 goals.

However, Gary Hamilton considers collective defensive commitment as key to such an encouraging start to the Danske Bank Premiership.

Enhanced teamwork this season may not have resulted in a clean sheets but Hamilton views the fact only Ballinamallard United have managed to take a lead over his side as a source of pride.

“We have been able to rotate our centre-backs Simon Kelly, Caolan Marron and Andrew Doyle due to each player being in such good form,” said Hamilton. “People look at the goals scored but I am really pleased with the work put in overall.

“Our defending starts from the front and we have a squad that is hungry and young with the added benefit of experienced players who are good professionals.

“Coleraine are a top, top side and have already posted some really strong performances to beat teams like Cliftonville and Crusaders.

“But we must always look at our own squad and take confidence from the quality and feel an honest performance will always give us a chance against any side.”