Oran Kearney knows just how important it is for Coleraine to get off to a good start as the curtain raises on the 2014/15 season this coming Saturday.
The Bannsiders entertain Ballinamallard United at The Showgrounds before travelling to newly promoted Institute on Wednesday 13th and then it’s another home tie with Warren Fenney’s Linfield on the Saturday.
Kearney told Times Sport ahead of the new season he would love to be going into the Blues games with maximum points in the bank as he targets a flying start.
“It’s thick and fast with three games inside a week and you are into the big ones straight away,” he said.
“If you could go into the Linfield game ideally with six points it would be brilliant, but four points would be super as well.
“We just want to be hitting the ground running coming into those run of fixtures because they come up thick and fast and there are no easy games in this league.
“We got stuck in a rut for a time last season and we do not want to be going back down that road again, the start is all important.”
The Bannsiders have never beaten Whitey Anderson’s Ballinamallard side since they gained promotion and Kearney is determined to finally put the record straight.
“It’s the perfect scenario for me, all the baggage and motivation is there for us to go and win it and get the season off to the perfect start,” said Kearney.
“That’s all that my head is on and that’s all that we are concentrating on. The Loughgall starting eleven was close to how we’ll probably start give or take one or two which we’ll look at during the coming week.”
Kearney is determined to bring through a number of the promising young players this season. A number of them impressed against Portstewart last Friday night, much to Kearney’s delight.
“In times gone past we perhaps didn’t have the players coming through, but now we do,” he said.
“You’ve got to throw them in and get a look at them. You can have all these reports about certain players and people believing that they’ve a chance, but you never know until you get a proper look at them.
“There’s such pressure through the season and it is very hard to throw a kid in even if you are on a winning streak because you’re always playing tough teams.
“I thought Brad Lyons was superb at Portstewart. To be fair to him when he was 12-years-old he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, he was the next big thing in football. Liverpool were showing big interest before he went to Linfield.
“It just didn’t work out for him, probably due to his physique more than anything as he was a late developer. But in the last six months or so he has grown and filled out a bit more.
“There’s no doubting his footballing brain, he is so comfortable on the ball. It was great to see him perform and it’s another player who is knocking on the door now.
“It is exciting for the future. I’ve followed Brad for a long time with him being a Ballymoney lad and we are delighted to see him develop into such a great prospect.”
Ruairi Harkin also impressed at Seahaven with two fabulous goals and Kearney is hoping there’s more to come.
“It’s probably one big criticism I’ve had of Ruairi during his time here, and probably all of our midfielders to be fair,” he said.
“But not only them but our centre halves too, I’ve been sore on them in pre-season and told them it’s not just about strikers scoring goals we need everyone to be weighing in with goals.
“Fair play to Ruairi he’s scored two fantastic goals tonight and probably was unlucky not to have a third.