Belfast Telegraph

Oran Kearney setting sights on top six goal

By Stuart McKinley

Oran Kearney wants Coleraine's dramatic Irish Cup replay victory over Cliftonville to be the catalyst for a top six challenge.

And the Bannsiders boss has brushed off suggestions that his team has underachieved by not already being in the top half of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

Coleraine's 10 men produced a stunning performance against the Reds and led 4-1 with 10 minutes to go and then dug in to win the game as Cliftonville scored twice late on.

"All the players who were involved on Tuesday night have to get confidence from the performance," said Kearney, ahead of tonight's meeting with Ballinamallard United.

"It can't be anything but positive and I hope now it can inspire the players and be the catalyst for a big push until the end of the season.

"The top six was one of our aims at the start of the season and it will remain an aim until it's mathematically impossible.

"It's tough to achieve because I believe that Cliftonville, Crusaders, Glentoran, Linfield and Portadown will almost always be in there and that leaves the other seven teams fighting for one place."

The Mallards are lining up a move for 28-year-old former Oldham Athletic, Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic striker Dean Kelly.

Suspensions to Tim Mouncey and Darren Murray have left Portadown manager Ronnie McFall with a player crisis ahead of their home game with Dungannon Swifts who have signed German goalkeeper Berraat Turker until the end of the season.

He was only able to name 15 players for last Saturday's 1-0 win over Cliftonville – which included Murray and Mouncey – and doubts remain over Josh Barton and Peter McMahon.

Warrenpoint Town have brought former player Sean Waters back to the club and he is expected to go straight into the squad for their home game against Glenavon.

The Lurgan Blues have player-manager Gary Hamilton suspended following a sending off after he was substituted last Saturday.

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