Coleraine boss David Platt is determined not to let the Rory Patterson saga disrupt his side’s season.
The Bannsiders goal machine has signed a pre-contract agreement with Glentoran, as the Belfast Telegraph revealed on Saturday.
Coleraine fans made their feelings known by booing their hero at Seaview but the former FC United hotshot responded by smashing in four goals in an impressive 5-2 success.
Platt wants the supporters to get off Patterson’s back and he also hopes the striker stays in the north-west until the end of the season.
Coleraine’s big win in north Belfast has added weight to the argument that this Bannsiders side can challenge for the Gibson Cup and in another intriguing encounter this evening, Platt’s men host derby rivals Ballymena United.
“Of course I am disappointed to lose Rory. You never want to lose quality,” said Platt.
“I felt the same about Eunan O’Kane and Matty Crossan. Rory was an integral part of this team and he still is so let’s try and win something this season.
“Unless the chairman says otherwise I would be happy for Rory to be here until the end of the season.
“It could have been so easy to make the Rory story an excuse but every single one of the players want to play for the shirt.
“To win as handsomely as we did at Crusaders showed an awful lot of character.
“Players were missing like Stephen Dooley who was sick, while Matty had left during the week but the game is about 11 players doing their jobs and the subs when they are called upon.
“The whole team showed they are very capable players but it means nothing unless you follow it up.”
Coleraine’s title-winning credentials will be tested by a Sky Blues side hungry to put the 3-0 defeat to Glentoran out of their system.
Patterson has scored four goals in two games against Roy Walker’s side this season.
“It’s important to keep the run going,” added Platt. “We have worked extremely hard over the Christmas period.
“I thought we were a little rusty against Dundela but the players’ character at Crusaders was excellent.
“It all bodes well for the United game. People forget how young this team is — our playing staff has an average of about 23-years-old.
“They are young and learning all the time but at the same time they are very capable.”