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Spring Matching

ORAN Kearney has acknowledged the Bannsiders will face a buoyant Larne side after last weekend’s comeback victory against Linfield…

The Inver Reds trailed to Joel Cooper’s early goal but responded to level at the break through Mark Randall’s spectacular effort from distance.

On 55 minutes, Larne would find the match winner as Joe Thomson headed in from Levi Ives’ cross to cut the gap at the top of the Sports Direct Premiership to five points.

The manner of that performance and the nature of the victory hasn’t gone unnoticed by Kearney ahead of tonight’s tussle at Inver Park.

“It’s another tough one,” he said.

“They had a very good result and credit where credit is due at Windsor Park last weekend.

“It’s a tough enough place to go never mind having to come from behind to get a result which is even more impressive.

“We know they’ll have a spring in their step, we know going down there that it’s important we go and match that and we’ve got to build on the clean sheet from Monday night.”

The Stripes will be boosted by the return of Conor McKendry from suspension who had a memorable October by winning a multitude of different awards during the month.

Whilst acknowledging that impact, Kearney has challenged the winger to maintain those high levels of output for the challenges ahead.

“It’s been great for Conor,” he added.

“It’s been well documented this year and we’ve been delighted to have so many conversations after games about him.

“He’s finally stepping up to that level that we all know he can produce.

“The month that he’s just produced doesn’t shock me or anybody about the club.

“It’s the same for those in the changing room who train with him regularly.

“It’s great to see him do it but the big thing now is that he’s got to go and match that and keep those standards where they’re at.”