Match Preview

OK targets another Cup run

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney has his eyes firmly set on another memorable BetMcLean League Cup run…

The Bannsiders have reached the last two finals of the competition – winning it in 2020 before losing to Cliftonville last year after extra-time.

However, as he prepares to take his side to derby rivals Ballymena United this evening, Kearney is hopeful of adding yet more memories in the competition.

“The League Cup has been good and bad to us in the last few years,” he said.

“However, it’s a competition we’ve gone to the wire in over the last few years and we want to do the same again.

“Derbies are derbies and people saying ‘Ballymena this and Ballymena that’ about their start of the season.

“I’ve never known an easy derby in my time at the club and I’m expecting nothing different.

“We need to make sure we roll our socks up again and get back out there.”

The Stripes come into the fixture after last weekend’s defeat to Larne and Kearney remarked the outcome would have been different if his side took some early chances.

“I think we all know with how these full-time teams are pushing and everything else, to come to these places away from home you need the complete performance and everything to fall into place,” he added after the 2-0 loss.

“The two goals we conceded weren’t good enough – it’s as simple as that.

“There has to be responsibility; the first one there are two or three players who can dig us out of a hole to stop that from happening and none of the three do that.

“We’ve stayed in the game long enough to create chances and get opportunities to get back into it but then we concede another.

“The biggest frustration is we don’t big opportunities early in the game and whilst we shouldn’t have to rely on those chances, to come to places like this and gain results, going ahead is a massive shot in the arm and would have a huge impact on the performance.

“You could argue we looked more threatening after the triple substitution.

“At sixty minutes, you sometimes have to trust the players to unlock it and get that opportunity but tonight we had to take that responsibility to try and do that.

“It flipped it up, it got us back into the game but that final bit of quality that let us down.”

Coleraine fans travelled to Inver Park in their numbers and Kearney has kindly asked for more of the same.

“They were brilliant,” Kearney responded when asked about the attendance in east Antrim.

“It was disappointing as we missed a few chances to get them up and going.

“We hung in the game rightly and you could sense that they were trying to absorb the ball into the net.

“It’s just frustrating that we couldn’t grab that goal to set-up a big finish to the game

“We will need them in their numbers tonight and I’m sure they will bring a good atmosphere.”