FOOTBALL: More of the same please says Kearney

THE BOSS...Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Cr30-328pl
THE BOSS...Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Cr30-328pl

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney is eyeing a repeat of last season.

With less than two weeks to go until the start of the new Danske Bank Premier League kick off the Bannsiders boss has told his players he wants more of the same.

“Sitting here now I’d definitely take that,” said Kearney.

“As long as we continue to move in the right direction then I’m happy.

“If you offered me a top six finish and a cup final appearance now I’d take your hand off you for it.

“That’s the objective, but to be doing it consistently is what we want. We have to be a top six team year on year just Linfield, Portadown, Crusaders and Cliftonville.

“Then you can start to look towards Europe, we weren’t too far away last season.

“With it brings good money for Irish League clubs, in the current climate that could prove vital.

“The Champions League is a wee bit far off at the minute as I think Linfield are just that too strong for everyone else currently.

“They still have to win their games, but they have the tools and the experience there to win the league again and that’s what I think will happen, especially after they signed Matty Tipton, it just gives them even more firepower.”

Kearney though has targeted the two teams that finished above Coleraine last term.

“Europe is a legitimate aim for us this season,” he said. “With that comes financial reward that helps you compete with the big clubs around you and if you pip them t a European spot you’re stopping them from getting the money.

“Money is very important. It goes without saying that the more money you can offer in wages then generally you can sign better players.

“On our day I feel that we can take on and beat anyone, but we want to push this club forward.

“Part of the strategy is to attract all the best young players to the club. We are the only senior club in the area so if there are any good young players coming through we want them at The Showgrounds.

“We did that with Mark Gillan, who has signed on at the club after a successful spell at Ballymoney. He deserves his chance at this level.”

Kearney though was remaining tight lipped on a possible return to the club for fans’ favourite Stephen Carson.

The winger left the Bannsiders last summer to join Glentoran but has been linked with a move away from The Oval.

“We didn’t want Stephen to leave, but he is now a Glentoran player and it wouldn’t be right to talk about another club’s player.”

Kearney’s men won their latest friendly outing on Saturday as they overcame north west rivals 1-0 at Drumahoe.

Curtis Allen’s second half spot kick sealed the win for the Bannsiders who lost Lee Colligan and Ryan McIlmoyle to injury. There was also an appearance from trialist Ciaran Martyn, who was released by Glentoran at the end of last season.