Gareth Deane’s ‘best years’ still to come as Coleraine confirm fresh contract
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney has backed his belief Gareth Deane’s ‘best years as a goalkeeper are still ahead of him’ by confirming a contract extension.
It marks the second fresh deal announced by The Bannsiders inside a few days in the aftermath of Ronan Wilson putting pen to paper - offering Coleraine a double boost ahead of hosting league leaders Cliftonville this weekend.
Victory for Coleraine would cut the gap at the head of the Premiership standings to a single point, with both Deane and Wilson impressive within the continued progress enjoyed by Kearney’s squad.
Former Linfield shot-stopper Deane made the switch to Coleraine at the start of last season and can point to 25 clean sheets from 50 games as part of the sign of faith provided by an extension that runs until the end of the 2024/25 campaign.
“Gareth arrived here with big pedigree and, to be fair to him, when you look at his time at Linfield, bar a bit of bad luck I think that was the reason why he didn’t make more appearances,” said Kearney in a club statemate announcing the 27-year-old’s deal. “No-one was doubting the quality of ‘keeper that was there but a couple of freakish injuries meant he struggled to put a string of appearances together.
“I think the big thing of him signing here - and I stressed this to him - was that we needed 40 to 45 games out of him and to really kick on and play as many games as possible.
“Bar the one freak injury after the save against Linfield, where he was reached across and the tendon has gone in his thumb which nobody could legislate for, he has been outstanding in all aspects of it.
“He’s been fantastic as a person because we are so fussy about who we bring into the changing room.
“And the standards he has set from a goalkeeping point of view have been sensational.
“The pleasing thing for me is that his best years as a goalkeeper are still ahead of him.
“He’s nowhere near his peak.
“He will still get better and we look forward to that being with us.”
And Kearney took time out of preparations for the eagerly-anticipated Cliftonville clash at The Showgrounds to highlight the overall attributes of 23-year-old Wilson.
“Football is all about development, mindset and patience, with Ronan ticking all those boxes,” said Kearney on the official Coleraine website following news of his deal earlier in the week. “He signed here a couple of years ago to provide competition for Lyndon (Kane) who was coming back from a serious injury.
“It’s been tough for Ronan due to the progress that Lyndon has made and he’s a very hard player to oust.
“But the biggest credit you can give Ronan is that he’s gone right up the pecking order.
“I said this to him a couple of weeks ago that he wears the number 12 shirt as a squad number, but when he signed two years ago he was maybe ranked 22 or 23 in the squad.
“However, his ranking now is probably 12 where he is one of the first players you will look to if the team needs to change.
“His standards of training, his attitude, the way he goes about his business and his fitness levels have been really good.
“He is still young, he’s not old in Irish League terms and there are a lot of good years ahead of him.
“We want those to be with us because, if he carries on progressing the way he is, then we believe he is going to turn out to be a very good player.”
Coleraine can boast back-to-back league wins at home thanks to recent defeats of Dungannon Swifts and Larne.
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