Match Preview

We want a ‘bit in the tank’ – OK

ORAN Kearney has challenged his Coleraine players to add to their preparations for the end of season European play offs as they face Linfield tomorrow afternoon…

The Bannsiders would suffer a 3-1 defeat on Tuesday night as Crusaders recovered from a goal down to win at Seaview.

However, attention quickly turns to the visit of Linfield tomorrow afternoon and Kearney is once again hoping to gain some form heading into the European play-off games.

“I don’t care about whether Linfield in title race when they come to us as we’ve three games to get ready for a European play-off,” he said.

“We had a few suspensions against Crusaders and a few aches and pains as well.

“We’ve got to manage bodies.

“I’ve said it before but we want to be going into those play-offs on the back of good performances and a bit in the tank.

“Friday night was really good and against Crusaders for the first 45 was really good as well.

“The goal hurt us and we didn’t get the response we wanted.”

Due to injuries and suspensions, the Stripes handed a first league start to 16-year-old Senan Devine and Kearney acknowledged that several other U20 players may play minutes before the end of the campaign.

“Two have been in training with us, Luca Doherty as well, in and around the first team,” he added.

“It’s very rare opportunities you get and people say you’re crazy to do it when you’re playing top six games.

“But I suppose we’re at a point now where we’re not going to make a massive difference to our league position.

“When you think of Under-20 matches and what Senan got a chance to be a part of against Crusaders it’s probably worth 15 or 20 games and that’ll stand him in good stead.

“It’s such a hard thing to do, to blood players, there’s a massive difference between U20s football and first team.

“Sometimes the only way is to throw them in and to be fair to Senan I thought he acquitted himself really well.”