Coleraine’s Oran Kearney wants Linfield cup tie to prove ‘catalyst’

Oran Kearney. Pic by INPHO.
Oran Kearney. Pic by INPHO.

Oran Kearney is keeping calm following Coleraine’s drop in form but wants tonight’s Bet McLean League Cup semi-final test with Linfield to serve as a ‘catalyst’.

Having gone unbeaten across the opening 15 fixtures within this season’s Danske Bank Premiership, two defeats from the past three league outings have served as a setback.

The Bannsiders tackle Linfield tonight at Windsor Park aiming to bounce back from the weekend league loss to Institute.

“We’re right in the mix at this point in time and history is history – what’s happened in the last few weeks has now happened,” said Kearney on Saturday. “You don’t become a bad team overnight, you don’t suddenly lose it and we need to find a catalyst now.

“We need men who are going to step up to the plate and not shirk responsibility - men who won’t look around at other people, who will stand up now and put us back on track.

“This will do one thing or the other for the cup because I can guarantee them if they go out and choose to put in a performance like that (v Institute) then they’ll not get much.

“The hope is that we can spring back out and get out the other side with a big performance.

“We had 11 versus 11 the whole game, people came on and got a chance who have been waiting patiently for opportunities, and it’s disappointing that they haven’t grabbed them with two hands.

“We won’t necessarily change things, I don’t like to go down the injury front, but if you look at the teamsheet the team is slightly unsettled.

“We’ve gone through the first three months of the season settled, we’re over-loaded with centre-halves and yet now we have a load of injuries there, so it’s crazy at this point in time.

“It is what it is, all teams get it, so we have to carry on.”

Linfield trail joint league leaders Coleraine by two points but with two games in hand - confirmation of the expected tight margins for David Healy and his Blues.

“It will be a tough game,” said the Linfield boss following the 1-0 victory over Larne. “I take no notice of their result at Institute.

“They have beaten us here (at Windsor) and beaten us up at their place.

“In my eyes, they are probably still the form team, we will have our hands full against them.

“If we play the way we played today, we won’t win against Coleraine on Tuesday.

“Coleraine have a knack of finding weaknesses and punishing mistakes that we make.

“We’ve had a tough run in this competition.

“I can go back to the first round, we were 3-2 down with three minutes to go away Ballinamallard United.

“We drew the game before beating them 5-4 in extra-time.

“It was a tough away day against one of the top teams in the Championship.

“Especially, when it was played at the start of the season, we had to miss the original date for the fixture because of our European commitments.

“We went down there on a Tuesday night and scraped through.

“We then beat Dungannon Swifts and Cliftonville – again, one of the form teams.

“The League Cup is a competition I really like...we want to hold on to the trophy.

“The final is always a high-profile occasion and it is something to look forward to, so that’s a big incentive.”