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Match Reaction

McAree: ‘Squad strengthening is the priority for January’

COLERAINE manager Rodney McAree admits he will be in the lookout for new players after the Bannsiders slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Warrenpoint Town yesterday afternoon…

The Stripes fell behind in the first-half as Alan O’Sullivan fired the ‘Point in front, but proceedings were levelled just after the hour mark as Darren McCauley headed home an equaliser.

That joy was short-lived as Robbie Norton slotted home a penalty to inflict Coleraine’s first league defeat on the road for over a year.

Speaking to, boss McAree was frustrated with his side’s defensive performance at Milltown.

“It’s frustrating. We played well in the first half and it wasn’t that our final ball was bad, we didn’t flood the box with enough players and we didn’t encourage people to put the ball in the right areas,” he said.

“We had got into the position Alan O’Sullivan gets into for his goal four or five times before he scores but nothing comes from our chances.

“He was more positive and the ball ends up in the back of our net.

“We responded well enough without putting Aaron McCarey under real pressure.

“We were very good at the start of the second half, we got ourselves back in the game and looked like we were going to push on, but we concede again within a minute.

“I’ll have to watch it again, but by the sound of the players it was very dubious.They feel O’Sullivan hasn’t been touched and that he went to ground very easily.

“If that’s the case then we’ve been done. Josh Carson was clipped in the opposite box but he tries to stay on his feet and is punished for being too honest.

“We have to stop conceding stupid goals.

“Against Glentoran we let a man go free in four yards of space. Everyone has a job to do and we didn’t do that last week.

“Today Gareth tries to head the ball clear when maybe he could have brought the ball down if others had given him more information.

“It goes straight to a Warrenpoint player, they break, and the ball ends up in the back of our net.

“Then we concede a penalty 40 seconds after equalising.

“We need to stop conceding stupid goals first and foremost if we’re going to give ourselves any opportunity.

“If everybody chooses the right option we don’t put ourselves under pressure.

“Gareth has been excellent, but he knows he had the chance to bring the ball down and play for the first goal.

“You’ll go though stages of the season when you’ll maybe concede poor goals.”

Due to injuries and suspensions, McAree was only able to name an inexperienced bench alongside Graham Crown who is struggling for fitness.

With the January transfer window looming large, the boss has plans to bring in reinforcements to The Showgrounds.

“Our problem today was we only had 11/12 senior players available,” he added.

“At the start of the season the club lost Stephen Dooley, Brad Lyons, Martin Smith and David Ogilby with Stephen Lowry and Graham Crown coming in.

“You do the maths it means you’re working with two less players than last year, when the squad wasn’t massive either.

“We have 21 players, three of those are goalkeepers, one is a 17-year-old and one is a 41-year-old.

“So that makes things difficult when you have seven players injured.

“You have to use your money as wisely as you can.

“But unfortunately for Coleraine we’ve lost too many bodies, you can’t plan for that, you maybe lose two injuries at a time.

“Graham Crown was on the bench today but he wasn’t fit enough to be involved, it was simply to fill the bench out.

“It is what it is at the minute, we just have to get on with it.

“We’ve Eoin Bradley back for next Friday night along with Steven Douglas so we’ve another couple of bodies to pick from.

“Squad strengthening is the priority for January.

“I want to add to what I have here, I don’t want to have to get rid of one to bring another in.

“We have to hold on to what we have and add to it.

“If we can get a few in, depending on how far the money goes, and we get the likes of Lyndon Kane and James McLaughlin back again, and Crowner gets a bit fitter then it will help us.

“Two or three weeks ago it was looking rosier, but in the space of a few days it looks like the sniper has been taking out players left, right and centre.”

The Irish Cup holders announced this week that Gareth McConaghie and Aaron Canning signed contract extensions until 2021 – and McAree revealed that talks are well underway to keep Darren McCauley on the Ballycastle Road.

“We’re working on that at the minute,” he concluded.

“I believe Darren is very happy at the club, he doesn’t want to make any rash decisions.

“He’s enjoying his football here and is playing with a smile on his face and enjoying the role he has in the team.

“We plan to sit down with him again over the next week and see where that takes us.

“I’ve spent the last five years in a manger’s job where I always lost my best players.

“No player is bigger than any club, but we certainly don’t want to lose Darren McCauley.

“And I know the club don’t want to lose him either, and fair play to them they’re willing to go that bit further to make sure we don’t lose him.”

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