RED ALERT

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COLERAINE head into the lion’s den this Saturday as they travel to Solitude to take on league leaders Cliftonville.

The Reds are nine points ahead of the Bannsiders and are unbeaten in their last seven games so it will be a tough task for Oran Kearney’s men, especially without the suspended Howard Beverland.

But as the Bannsiders boss points out every game is tough in the Irish League.

“Every game is difficult and next week will be no different,” Kearney told Times Sport following Saturday‘s disappointing defeat at home to Glenavon. “Howard’s absence gives someone else the opportunity to step up and claim the shirt.

“David Ogilby is back in to full training so we just have to wait and see how this week goes, I don’t know if it would be too big an ask for him to come straight back in after six or seven weeks out.

“But we have Kyle McVey there and Aaron Canning also as an option with Johnny Watt continuing at right back after another decent performance today.

“So there’s a few options for us to look at this week. We’ll get back to hard work again this Tuesday and Thursday and we will be making sure we’re prepared for what will be a difficult game.”

The Bannsiders had the chance to close the gap on the leaders on Saturday as Cliftonville drew at Portadown, but they fell to defeat at the hands of Gary Hamilton’s Glenavon side.

“It has been the story of our season so far unfortunately we just haven’t been able to take advantage of the slips made by the teams around us,” said Kearney after the game.

“But it really doesn’t matter what other teams do we have to take care of ourselves and make sure we get the result.

“Today’s game is one of those which leaves you very frustrated afterwards, especially when you do create so many chances, but again how many saves did we force their keeper to make?

“I told the players I can’t fault them on endeavour or work rate but I can fault them on quality. You can’t create quality someone has to take the gamble to put himself in there.

“We had a right pop about corners after the game I said to them there’s no coaching in a corner it all comes down to who has the biggest appetite to win the ball and that’s the worrying thing for me.

“People should be gritting their teeth and wanting to go through bodies to get on the end of the ball. It seemed to matter more to Glenavon to defend corners than it did for us to attack them.

“It was a massive game for us. We stood here a couple of weeks ago bemoaning the fact that we hadn’t created enough chances and then today without really forcing the keeper into a save we created a lot of good opportunities, but we just didn’t have someone with the quality or calmness to be in the right place at the right time to finish them off.

“But you get days like that, that’s part and parcel of football.

“The games come thick and fast this month so you don’t have time to rest on your laurels you just have to tune in for the next one.”

STORY:

STEVEN CRAWFORD