O’Donnell: ‘We are proud of our defensive record so far’

SUMMER signing Stephen O’Donnell is the latest player to be asked questions on how he is enjoying his time at The Showgrounds…

Q1. Stephen, what have you made of your time at Coleraine? You must be really enjoying it with the run we are on?

I have loved every minute of it since I joined. The boys, the staff, the fans and everyone involved within the club have been brilliant with me from the minute I arrived. The start to the season has been fantastic and there is a real buzz about the club at the minute, everyone is really enjoying their football and long may it continue

Q2. You were club captain at Institute – it must have been a difficult decision to leave? I’m sure you hope they get back on their feet after the unfortunate flooding to the ground?

It was a difficult decision for me to leave, having been there for four years and having been club captain. When I met Oran and spoke to him about the club and the plans going forward, it just felt like it was the right time for me to move to the right club and so far it’s been perfect. Institute is a great club and I have a lot of good friends there, hopefully they can get the ground sorted sooner rather than later. They’ve had a great start to their season and hopefully they can push on and have a successful season under Paddy.

Q3. You have formed a solid partnership with David Ogilby in central defence – what have you learned from him and Steven Douglas?

OG and Dougie have both been brilliant for me since I joined. Two different types of defenders but two fantastic centre backs and two great characters. They have both been able to help me in training and in matches and they were part of the reason I was so keen to join Coleraine. Having two experienced Irish league defenders who have been there and done it is great for me. For me, it’s about learning as much as I can from the both of them and staying keen to listen so that I can improve as much as possible going forward.

Q4. Are you sure you aren’t a striker as you’ve scored 3 goals already this season against Dungannon Swifts, Crusaders and Ballymena United? What one is your favourite and have you set any goal targets?

As much as I’ve tried to tell the gaffer that I am a striker, I don’t think you’ll see me playing up top for Coleraine anytime soon. The goal in the derby against Ballymena is my favourite so far. To win, keep a clean sheet and score in my first derby was brilliant. Especially knowing how much it means to the fans and we had a fantastic travelling support that day and a great performance and result to go with it. It’s been great to pitch in with a few goals already this season, but in truth it should be more. I’ve missed a few chances that I’m not happy about, so it’s about making sure that I keep improving and getting on the end of things. I scored eight last season, so the target is to match that at least and hopefully add a few more.

Q5. Coleraine currently have the best defensive record in the league only conceding 10 goals. You must be over the moon with that statistic?

That for me, is the most pleasing thing about our start to the season. We have been a tight unit all over the pitch and we’re delighted with how we’ve been defending all season. Chris and the back four all hate conceding goals and that is a good motivation for us all to keep clean sheets. The boys in front of us have been really strong and given us great protection so far this year. As long as we keep improving and keep working hard for clean sheets, I’ll be happy.

Q6. Finally, when you signed for the club in July, surely you couldn’t have imagined the fantastic start we have made to the season?

The start had been brilliant. It’s a real testament to the boys, the manager and the staff on how well we’ve prepared in pre season and how well organised we are. Not only do we have a group of talented players, we also have a great group of characters who are working hard for each other and the manager. It’s been a great start to the season and hopefully we can continue working and improving and we will see where it takes us.