BACK IN BLACK

ON BOARD...Manager Oran Kearney welcomes Johnny Black to Coleraine Showgrounds.''photo:Derek Simpson
ON BOARD...Manager Oran Kearney welcomes Johnny Black to Coleraine Showgrounds.''photo:Derek Simpson

ORAN Kearney is hoping he has solved his left back problem with the signing of Johnny Black (right).

The former Glentoran man will put pen to paper for the Bannsiders tonight (Tuesday). Kearney was forced to move for the full back after his decision to release Richard Vauls at the end of last week.

Speaking last Thursday Kearney said he was disappointed in having to take the decision, but wished the former Stoke City man well for his future.

“All the players who signed or renewed contracts with us this summer did so in the understanding that they were competing for the opportunity to fill a shirt,” said the Coleraine boss.

“Unfortunately Richard has decided at this time that his future lies elsewhere and so we have agreed to release him from his contract. We wish him well for his future career.”

Skipper David Ogilby filled in at left back in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Dungannon, but Kearney moved quickly to secure Black, who was released by the Oval outfit in May.

The 23-year-old had spent time training with Crusaders and Lisburn Distillery since his release by Glentoran, but Kearney is delighted to have convinced him his future lies at The Showgrounds.

“Despite still being quite young, Johnny has a lot of experience of playing in the Carling Premiership from his time at Glentoran,” said Kearney on Monday.

“He is a proven player at this level, with a very good left foot and a reputation as a set piece specialist. I’m sure he will prove to be a quality addition to the squad.”

Black will meet his new team mates for the first time tonight at training and will wear the number 33 shirt this season.

Meanwhile Kearney is determined to bounce back following the disappointment of Saturday’s goalless draw at Stangmore Park.

The Bannsiders boss was very disappointed that his side didn’t live up to their billing, but he knows they can’t afford a similar performance this Saturday at home to Cliftonville.

“I have to say I am very disappointed,” he said following the game.

“There are positives to come from it but overall, it was probably the poorest performance we’ve had since I came to the club.

“It’s the first day of the season and it is to some extent a lottery, but over the last few weeks, the players have really set a standard in their performances and they didn’t perform to that level.

“From that perspective, that we came away with a clean sheet and a point is a positive and maybe shows how far we’ve come.

“Dungannon’s game plan was to keep things compact, stay solid at the back and try to hit us on the break and we did find that frustrating at times. The key thing against sides playing like that is the first goal and we really needed to make the most of the opportunities we created.

“If you go 1-0 up, it becomes a different game, maybe in some ways a slightly easier game as Dungannon would have been forced to come out a bit more.

“I wanted to go for the win, so I made attacking changes to try and push on, but it just wasn’t to be and Shane’s header hitting the post just summed it up for us.

“Everyone was disappointed afterwards, in many ways it felt like a defeat.

“There was a feeling in the changing room that we could have done better and it’s up to us to get the heads down now and work even harder this week to ensure we can really get the season up and running this week.”

Kearney was reasonably pleased with his defence, although he will be without the services of Howard Beverland against Cliftonville following his dismissal against the Swifts.

“We did manage to keep it tight at the back for most of the game, although there were a couple of dodgy moments early in the second half and then the one with Howard right at the end.

“Damien McNulty came in and at certain stages of the game did very well, but at others looked a little bit edgy.

“But you have to take into account that it was his competitive debut for the club, along with several other players and in hindsight you expect a few nerves from players in that situation.

“The first game of the season is always the hardest, especially for new players coming in and making their debut so it’s nice to get that game out of the way. A clean sheet is a positive and hopefully it gives us something to build on.”