VIDEO: Hard work has paid off says Stephen O'Donnell

Stephen O’Donnell feels last week’s win over Crusaders helped Coleraine answer a few questions that had been thrown at them.

It hasn't been the smoothest of starts to the season for the Bannsiders after Oran Kearney and Brad Lyons left for full time football.

Stephen O'Donnell celebrates last week's win over Crusaders with boss Rodney McAree

Stephen O'Donnell celebrates last week's win over Crusaders with boss Rodney McAree

Injuries and suspensions have made it difficult for new boss Rodney McAree, but he certainly would not look for any excuse. Instead they have continued to work hard and safe in the knowledge that their luck would turn sooner rather than later.

“There has been a few questions asked of us over the last few weeks in terms of results and some of the performances since Rod has come in,” said O’Donnell.

“But all I can do is be honest about it and say everyone has been working really hard. To go and beat the Crues is a great reward for everyone for that hard work. We are missing a few players but we never use that as an excuse.

“We had no Eoin Bradley or Aaron Traynor against Crusaders, James McLaughlin and Aaron Burns have both had to come off injured.

“We are low in numbers, but again it shows when this team are asked questions, which, as I say, has been done recently, we always come up with the answers.”

The players were quick to share the joy of the 1-0 win over Crusaders with their new gaffer, with O’Donnell glad to reward his hard work.

“It’s a great feeling but more so to give something back to Rod because he’s been brilliant since he came in the door,” he said. “Both him and the staff have been brilliant over the last number of weeks and it was about us giving them something back.

“Training has been really good, we’ve been working really hard, but we just haven’t been getting the results. But to finally get it against a good Crusaders team was the perfect way to reward him. The next step is to get back-to-back wins.

“There’s no point of us looking at the league table at the minute and targeting points or teams. It’s just about going game to game now.

“That served us well last season, if we can get back to that it will serve us well. We have to continue to work hard and I’ve no doubt the results will come. I’m happy to follow the big game against Crusaders with another big game against Cliftonville.

“It might have been easy to drop off a bit if your next game was against a bottom six team.

“But because we’re at home next week and we’re up against a good side like Cliftonville, and because the fans have been rewarded for their support over the last few weeks with a win against Crusaders then hopefully we can pack out The Showgrounds and put in another good performance and pick up another win.”

While confidence is on the rise again at The Showgrounds, it seems an altogether different story with the Reds.

Boss Barry Gray was left fuming with their County Antrim Shield defeat at Crusaders in midweek.

“Defensively we were a mess,” he said.“We are left asking serious questions of defenders at this stage of the season in terms of whether they want to, or can defend properly, or follow simple instructions.

“We’ve gifted three goals to Crusaders, we’ve come here and scored three goals yet come away with nothing.

“This is a consistent trend for us now, we can’t do much about it in terms of personnel at the minute, but it’s up to them if they want to be here come January. They have a very small window to show that they don’t need to be replaced. They haven’t done that up until now, we can all make excuses, but results tell the tale.”