IRISH LEAGUE: Oran Kearney in no doubt James McLaughlin deserved new contract

James McLaughlin
James McLaughlin

Striker James McLaughlin tuned up for Saturday’s Danske Bank Premiership clash agianst Warrenpoint Town at Milltown by agreeing a new two-year contract with Coleraine.

The 25-year-old, who has bagged 11 goals this season, only joined the Bannsiders from junior league soccer in the summer, but has been an instant success.

Manager Oran Kearney reckons it’s a shrewd piece of business, stating: “James has earned this new deal. But I’ve told him this is only the start.

“He really should have been playing at senior level before this. He is by no means the finished article – he is still learning. I’ll be expecting the same hunger and desire over the next few years has he continues to develop.”

McLaughlin now has the chance to improve his goal ratio against the league’s basement side, who have pocketed only four points from 15 starts.

“Some people might have question whether James could make the step up to senior football,” added Kearney.

“But I think he has already answered that. I always knew he had the ability.

“His fitness is improving all the time and he is making a crucial contribution to our games on a regular basis.

“Hopefully, he can keep it going, but we’ll be taking nothing for granted against Warrenpoint.

“They are battling for every point. They have lost quite a few games by the odd goal, which proves there is a fine margin between winning and losing in this league.”