OK pleased with preparations

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney admits the manner of his side’s third goal in yesterday’s pre-season friendly against Ballinamallard United gave him reasons to be cheerful…

The Bannsiders put their Championship opponents to the sword as they netted four times in the opening 21 minutes via a hat-trick Matthew Shevlin and Conor McKendry, with Josh Carson also registering a goal with a delightful free-kick after the break.

However, the quality of the third goal pleased Kearney as McKendry rounded of a brilliant team goal involving four or five players.

“The quality of the third goal in particular, our quality has been good and we’ve said it again on Tuesday night and today where it’s been the same bodies and we’ve had to be ultra careful with it,” he said.

“Some of the stuff in the first half, particularly the third goal, and you very rarely get that excited in pre-season but there were eight or nine passes, six of them were forward and one-touch which opened Ballinamallard up and allowed Conor to score.

“Stuff like that is pleasing when you see a lot of work behind the scenes coming to fruition.

“I think particularly in a lot of those games and most of the games in pre-season, the first 60 or 70 minutes until we make changes, gives us a bit of a vision about what we want it to look like.

“It looks good from that point of view, I’m happy with it at this moment in time but we still need a few in and we are still actively trying to recruit more of the type that we are looking for.

“With where we are at currently, it would be nice to have all your business done but we are still in a strong place as Stephen Lowry hasn’t kicked a ball yet, Lyndon Kane hasn’t kicked a ball yet and Stephen O’Donnell is the same.

“You’ve also players who are on the verge of hopefully coming back to training this week as well which will feel us a bit more and add some quality depth.”

The Bannsiders have a triple header of games as they face Huddersfield Town XI on Wednesday night, before facing Portstewart away on Friday and at home to Annagh United on Saturday.

Kearney vowed to rotate the squad for the ties and hopes to have several injured bodies back at his diposal.

“Ideally we will be rotating the squad as best as we can,” he added.

“We will get a good training session on Monday night and then we will look forward to the Huddersfield game which will hopefully be a good and different test.

“The Friday and Saturday games we will probably spread the squad out between two panels and that’s the one where you’re probably looking to give everyone 90 minutes.

“The problem with that is that we have guys coming back who maybe don’t have enough to play the 90, so we will see where we get to by the end of the week.”

Kearney confirmed that striker Kirk McLaughlin seems to be on his way out from The Showgrounds and join another top-flight club.

Despite wanting to keep the Dervock ace on a professional contract, the boss conceded that full-time football is seemingly the avenue the 18-year-old wants to go down.

“There seems to be a lure of a want to play full-time football,” he continued.

“At the end of the day, that’s something we can’t offer at this moment in time.

“Kirk has to make his own decision in relation to that, ideally for us we wanted to sign him pro and probably loan him out for a year like we’ve done with a few other players to help gain him experience.

“I think the lure of full-time football is where he’s at so we will have to accept it and see what way it goes.”

After stating that he is hoping of bringing in one new arrival before Wednesday night’s pre-season clash against Huddersfield Town, Kearney knows that a few players may have to join other clubs in order to gain game time.

“We have one player we are interested in and hopefully that can be done in the next few days,” he concluded.

“There’s nothing else in the pipeline even though the rumour mill is rife.

“It’s hard, we are trying to do the correct business but every club wants money for everybody now and everybody has value, so it’s one of those where we have to be patient.

“We are happy and delighted with the work we have done so far.

“I thought Dean Jarvis was superb today, Lee Lynch I had to bring him off to conserve him, Jack has shown in flashes what he can do, so we are happy with all that.

“We will probably lose a few players from our squad.

“There’s ones who aren’t going to play and I make no bones about that.

“It’s their choice and yes there are contracts and players who are getting minutes currently but in the next few weeks they probably won’t get minutes.

“Ideally, we will trim the squad down to in and around the 20 to 22 mark.

“Those players are aware and it’s entirely their call.”