FOOTBALL: Kearney eyeing cup shock at The Oval

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ORAN Kearney is hopeful of having a number of players back from injury ahead of next Saturday’s Irish Cup quarter final against Glentoran.

The Bannsiders boss has been hamstrung in recent weeks with his selection with so many players ruled out through injury.

But he told Times Sport there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m hoping to have a couple of players back for next week,” said Kearney.

“Johnny Watt and Darren Boyce aren’t too far away, it will just depend on how they respond in training this week.

“Aaron Canning had his nose reset last week so we’ll see how that goes this week.

“We’re all looking forward to the game. But I’ll learn nothing about them at The Oval next week or at Windsor Park the following week.

“It’s days like Saturday against the likes of Newry when you find out who really wants it and has the appetite for it.

“We can go there relaxed and have a real pop at it and see where it gets us.

“We certainly won’t have any fear. There’s an Irish Cup semi final at stake and we’ll be doing all we can to make sure it’s us in the hat come a quarter to five.”

The new boss has been pleased how his players have responded in what have been testing situations of late.

On Saturday both Gaven Cullen and Daibhibd McIvor were handed starts and Kearney was pleased with their performances.

“I said to Daibhibd before I think he’s earned his chance in the last couple of games,” he said.

“And he grabbed it with both hands.

“I’ve known about him for a few years, even at schools level he always looked to have a bit about him. He’s done himself proud every time he’s come on in the last few games and he gives us another option in a couple of positions

“That’s what being in the squad is all about. It’s not about squad numbers or being on the bench to say you are in something, it’s about getting on the pitch and doing it.

“Gavin has been kicking his heels on the sidelines waiting for a chance. I spoke to Davey during the week, I know his back has been sore for a while but he’s one of these guys who wants to soldier on.

“I felt it had been affecting his kicking a little bit and I felt as I have a fit keeper, he’s probably one of the only fit players I have at the minute, it allowed me to make that change.

“Saturday was all about getting the three points and I couldn’t leave anything to chance.”