FOOTBALL: Contract talks can wait - Kearney

ORAN Kearney has told Times Sport he won’t be discussing new contracts with the players until after the season is over.

A number of players are out of contract in the summer including Stephen Carson.

But Kearney, who is expected to bring about a major overhaul of the playing staff, says there is work to be done on the pitch first.

“Any club I’ve been at you don’t talk about renewing contracts until the season has finished,” said Kearney.

“I think if you do it before then it detracts from the last few games.

“Once the season is over we will speak to the players about their future as soon as it is possible and sort out what’s happening.

“The worry is that if you start handing out new contracts now then maybe some players will switch off for the last few games.

“The good thing about coming in when I did was the transfer window was closed and it didn’t force me to go out and bring in players just for the sake of it.

“That has helped me have a really good look at the players who are here and let me see what is the best way for us to go forward.

“Ollie Mullan has come into the Colts and he’s already made contact with a number of players for next season.

“We knew it was an area we wanted to develop because for the size of the club we are we need better quality coming through the ranks.

“As much as recruitment for the first team is of prime importance, there will be quite a few players coming into the club from 16 upwards.

“We want to get the Colts back into the A League and make sure the Reserves are competitive as well.”

One player who looks certain to be heading for the exit door is defender turned striker Marc Mukendi.

The former Derry City man has been a revelation since Kearney came in scoring seven goals, including the equaliser in last Friday night’s 1-1 draw with Ballymena United.

But Mukendi is set to move to Australia in the summer, which would rule him out extending his stay at the club.

“It’s been well documented he’s heading to Australia,” said Kearney.

“He’s had that booked since Christmas time when to be fair to him he probably felt he was on his way out.

“Although his fortunes have changed here he still has aspirations to go.

“It’s a bit of a Catch 22 for us as we want to win as many games as possible, but we also want to go with the guys who are probably going to be here long term.

“But fair play to Marc when he came on against Ballymena it lifted the crowd and the rest of the players and it gave us an extra dimension.

“Both he and ‘Carsie’ came off the bench to provide that wee bit of quality to get us back into the game.

“Stevie’s put a real quality ball into the box and the big man’s put it away well and that’s the difference.

“We’ve no game now for two weeks and I told the lads that on the back of our first half performance we will be working hard on the training pitch so as we finish the season off strongly.

“It was pleasing to produce a strong second half performance against Ballymena. It was just a shame that our finishing touch wasn’t as good as it had been in recent weeks.”