Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine's Oran Kearney happy with workout before the serious stuff starts

By Graham Luney

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney will look back on the Charity Shield as a constructive workout while he gears up for the real business starting this weekend.

The Bannsiders kick off their Danske Bank Premiership campaign at Dungannon Swifts and after a stunning third place finish last season, expectations are high.

Injuries to skipper David Kee, James McLaughlin and Lyndon Kane have disrupted preparations but the 3-1 defeat to Linfield was needed to shake off a little more rust.

Kearney knows his side will move through the gears and it will take all the sides a few matches before they can be at their competitive best.

"We will be ready to go on Saturday," said the former Linfield midfielder, after watching Josh Carson net the opener at The Oval before goals from Aaron Burns, Andy Mitchell and Paul Smyth settled the contest.

"There's not many teams who can sustain that level at this stage of the season like Linfield do and their European games played a part in that.

"They got through a round and had four weeks of it while we had two. It showed in the last 20 minutes but fitness wise, this was a great game for us.

"We had six guys sitting in the stand which makes it tough and it's been difficult for the new lads but they have acquitted themselves well including Josh (Carson) who has covered a lot of ground.

"We have been very quick to say to the players after the European games that it was closure on everything."

He added: "The buzz of last season including the cup final and Europe is now finished and we wipe the slate clean. It's in the history books and now people will possibly be more wary of us and try that bit harder against us because of last season so it's important the players raise their game."

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