COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney shares his thoughts as the Bannsiders were forced to settle for a draw against Glenavon at The Showgrounds…
The result means its back-to-back draws for the Stripes, but Kearney insists he will take the positives from two excellent performances against Linfield and Glenavon.
“The matches against Linfield and Glenavon have been by far our best two performances of the season,” Kearney said.
“I can’t complain with how we played against Linfield that night and we got a blow late on, and today to be honest that was as good as we’ve played all season.
“That’s the things we have to hold onto and I reminded the players that there have been other stages of the season that we’ve stole three points.
“I can think of a couple of games we haven’t played well, managed it out and came away with the win.
“I suppose with that what comes around goes around and we’ve been a victim of that today as we have had enough chances to win four games.
“Missed chances and top goalkeeping by Tuffey means we have to settle for a point.”
Kearney was also quick to praise both teams for an entertaining game in excellent conditions, but was disappointed not to earn all three points.
“It was a brilliant game and credit to both sides on a difficult pitch,” Kearney added.
“Many teams in this league play with an extra midfielder, but we both play with two strikers and go for it.
“I knew Gary’s team before today and I’m sure he knew ours when travelling up on the bus.
“We both had our team sheets in at 1:15 and we both knew what was happening.
“It was a brilliant game and end-to-end, but I think on chances created, it was disappointing not to match the performance with three points.”
The Bannsiders now trail leaders Crusaders by five points, but Kearney remains hopeful that his side can kick-on for the remaining 10 games.
“We have 30 points to play for and there will be a lot of twists and turns left,” Kearney continued.
“I’ve said to the players that we’ve only dropped two points and you can hear about Crusaders going five points clear, but we’ve only drawn a game and we move onto the next one.
“The job for us in the next 10 games is to pick up as many three points as we can, and if and when Crusaders drop points, we need to make sure we are the first team they see and the gap closes.
“That starts on Friday night against Ballinamallard, we need to go there and get the three points with Crusaders not in league action.
“If I get another 10 of those performances like we did today, we won’t be too far away.
Kearney also gave a medical update regarding Brad Lyons, Stephen Dooley and Aaron Burns – with all three not being too far away from a return to first-team duty.
“They are all getting close and it’s important to be fair to all of them,” Kearney concluded.
“Brad nearly made the squad today, but hasn’t done full training yet.
“We knew Aaron was going to be out for a few weeks when he signed, but one thing we won’t do after signing him, is to hang him out to dry and we will make sure he is confident to be back.
“He trained twice this week, had another good session today and will train on Tuesday night. We will keep the communication lines open after that and we will see about a possible place on the bench.
“Stephen is still in a bit of pain but will hopefully recover with a strap protector.
“Going forward we will need these players back to be a possible game changer as we enter the last 10 games.”