READY FOR THE OFF

Oran Kearney believes his side are on the right track ahead of the big kick off on August 6th.

The Bannsiders got another two practice games under their belts this week ahead of the opener against Dungannon Swifts in under two weeks time.

On Thursday night goals from the returning David Scullion and Shane Jennings gave Kearney’s side a 2-0 win over Glebe Rangers.

Although the manager admitted he was disappointed with the overall performance against the Championship 1 outfit.

The Bannsiders boss was happier on Saturday as Coleraine entertained the US Milk Cup squad playing out a 1-1 draw in glorious conditions at The Showgrounds.

On the whole though Kearney believes his side are making good progress and he is getting closer to a starting 11 for the trip to Stangmore.

“Thursday night’s performance was disappointing as it was below the level of performance we expect,” Kearney told Times Sport.

“Although we won 2-0 we needed a little bit more from the players and they know that.

“I thought we were a lot better today (Saturday), the first half in particular. We lost our way a bit at the start of the second half but came back into it again towards the end.

“Overall it’s time on legs and we haven’t picked up any injuries so there is positives.

“I think we are progressing well and are heading in the right direction in terms of being ready for the start of the season.

“I think even today the quality in the first half was very good and you can just see people getting that wee bit sharper and quicker.

“Obviously there’s still a bit of work to be done over the next two weeks, but in saying that we’re moving in the right direction and I’m confident that we’re getting their in relation to the 6th.

“It’s been good preparation for us to play all the different teams over the last few weeks.

“The bigger variety of teams you can play then the better and our pre-season has been good in that way.

“From Kilmarnock through to America it’s been a wide and varied bunch, which is super for our guys as it’s a different test each time and you’ve got to approach it differently.

“You learn more about the players when you come up against different opposition.

“I thought the US were strong today, especially at the back, so it was a test for us to break them down.

“But I though we did well and we created a good few chances, particularly in the first half.

“It was a different test for us on Thursday night against the Glebe and it’ll be another tough test when we split the squad for the friendlies against Tobermore and Ballymoney on Tuesday night.

“I’m getting closer to knowing my starting 11 for the Dungannon game.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do on Tuesday night yet, but definitely next Saturday against Dergview and for part of the Portstewart game we’ll definitely show our hand as it were.

“The early part of pre-season is all about getting fit, and then it’s about adding that wee bit of quality like the cross for the goal today.

“You have to try and roll all that into one, but we’re getting there.

“Some guys have pushed on in pre-season and done better than we thought they would, whereas others haven’t quite done as well, so there are a few shirts still up for grabs.

“We’ll take all that into consideration and only judge it on pre-season, reputations go out the window, it’s the guys who put the hardest work in and impress the most who will get the nod.”

Kearney is delighted that long term injury victim David Scullion is edging closer to full fitness.

“We’ve been keen to get ‘Scully’ back, but we were adamant that he needed to get the six or seven sessions under his belt before we allowed him to be involved in a competitive match so that we can gradually ease him in,” explained the Bannsiders boss.

“That was successful on Thursday night, but after the long lay off he’s had I think it would have been unfair to have asked him to play again today.

“So we wanted to get a good stint out of him on Thursday, he trained today and then we’ll be aiming to get 90 minutes out of him on Tuesday night.

“I’m pleased with his progress though and I thought he was one of the only positives from Thursday night.

“For me he looked a class above everyone else on the pitch.

“The big thing is we need him fit and strong, but consistently fit and strong. That’s why the rehab is slow and progressive rather than just rushing back into the fray.

“He had no reaction after Thursday night’s game and he was raring to go again, but we decided it was best to put the reins on him again and keep it slow and steady.”

Unfortunately defender Kyle McVey suffered a reaction to his foot injury he sustained in Stranraer last weekend.

Tests thankfully showed that there was no re-occurrence of the break McVey suffered last season.

But when he did some running before Saturday’s game McVey felt some discomfort.

“Kyle was doing a wee bit of jogging there today and he aggravated the foot again, maybe it was a bit too much too soon for him we’re not sure, so we’ll have to monitor that and see how it goes,” added Kearney.