COLERAINE manager Rodney McAree was in jubilant form after watching his side progress to the Sixth Round of the Tennent’s Irish Cup…
The Bannsiders sealed their passage into the next round against Dergview as a first-half own goal and James McLaughlin’s clever finish after the break ensured a 2-0 win against their Championship opponents.
Speaking to colerainefc.com after the game, boss McAree was disappointed with his side’s first-half performance but was delighted to see McLaughlin make it four goals from his last four outings.
“Today was job done and we move on into the next round,” he said.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of matches. I thought the first-half was a non-event to be honest, we were poor and struggled to get up to the levels that we needed.
“Thankfully we got a goal through Alex to go one-nil up.
“I thought we more in control and played better in the second-half despite them hitting the post.
“That was maybe a little scare that we needed and James came off the bench to score his fourth goal in as many games which was great to see.
“We were standing on the sideline and I thought the front two were better in the second-half but we always felt James would score if we could get him on the pitch.”
The hosts were able to hand debuts to Ben Doherty and Jamie Glackin, as well as the returning Mark Edgar who joined the Bannsiders on a short-term deal on Friday.
Doherty and Glackin were both removed after suffering knocks – but McAree insists this was a precautionary measure.
“I thought Jamie didn’t get into the game as much as I’d like him to but that’s to be expected as he hasn’t played a lot of football and is a little bit rusty,” he added.
“Ben has been playing football and I thought he was very good.
“Both players took a knock and were removed through precaution and they will be okay.
“Mark came on in the second-half and I thought he done extremely well and it’s going to take him a few weeks to get up to match fitness.
“I think the competition for places has helped with the recent run of good results as we are getting options off the bench and giving those on the pitch a push.”
The Stripes have been widely linked with a move for in-form Institute striker Michael McCrudden and McAree insists he would like the move to happen in the near future.
“We are doing all we can to sign Michael McCrudden and we would like that to happen,” he continued.
“We are now led to believe that other clubs are now interested in Michael.
“We have had very positive conversations with him but we have to be careful that yes we would like Michael, but we can’t throw all our eggs into one basket and make sure we are keeping our options open.”
Despite being offered a new contract to remain on the Ballycastle Road, winger Darren McCauley has been placed on the transfer list amid interest from other clubs.
McAree insists the club have done everything they can to keep the 27-year-old at The Showgrounds but the Derry/Londonderry native has his mind made on a new challenge.
“I have spoken to Darren and he feels his future lies elsewhere,” he concluded.
“We have probably waited until now to place him on the transfer list in the hope that he changed his mind and signed a new contract.
“That doesn’t look likely to happen and we have to take it on the chin and wish him all the best.
“He’s been a great servant here, scored some important goals and been here throughout the big occasions, so we have to wish him well.
“He loves this club and loves playing here, but I think he has his mind made up.
“I have been speaking to Darren regularly in the hope that he would stay but I think it’s at the stage where we believe he will move on.
“It’s something that we will have to look at in terms of squad selection.
“He has all the quality in the world and if he is here next weekend it is something we will have to address.
“I don’t think he would let us down and not for a second do I think he wouldn’t put a shift in as he has been brilliant since I’ve arrived.”