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Kearney bemoans the loss of Brown from Bannsiders pack

By David Mason

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney admits he is 'frustrated' at losing the versatile Rodney Brown when the transfer window opens next month.

Although the former Linfield man is currently out with a medial ligament injury, he has recently penned a three-and-a-half year deal with Crusaders - and there was nothing Kearney could do about it as he joined the Showgrounds club as an amateur.

"Our hands are tied in terms of any movement," said Kearney.

"We were certainly keen to keep him, but we didn't have much of a say in the matter, it was his decision."

Kearney is now primed to renew the rivalry with his former boss David Jeffrey in what promised to be a Boxing Day cracker at the Warden Street Showgrounds.

"It's another massive match," he added.

"Again, we'll approach the game full off confidence and hoping for three points. As always, anything can happen in a derby game. The teams met recently and extra time was required to separated them in the League Cup semi-final."

Even though the Bannsiders halted a losing four match run when plundering a point at home to Ards last week, Kearney admitted it has been a difficult period.

"When you analyse things, results may not have been in our favour, but we had to utilise the squad the best we could.

"People may have been disappointed with our draw at home to Ards, but we had a gruelling 120 minutes of a League Cup semi-final against Ballymena leading into that game.

"Prior to that, we rested four players for the Glenavon match and, even before that against Cliftonville, we had three players on four bookings that we couldn't risk.

"So there have been a lot of things we had to take into account over recent matches.

"We had to put a lot of thought into the semi-final. And, even though the boys did well taking the game into extra-time, two big decisions went against us on the night which really killed us.

"When you take everything into account, we had to play the cards we thought would be beneficial in terms of leading to the semi-final.

"But I must commend the team for their effort, especially in the second half, against Ards last week. They came into the match with a new manager in Colin Nixon - and that always lifts a team.

"We've been to a League Cup semi-final and are sitting fifth in the league table, so it could be worse.

"We've now got a massive Boxing Day game against Ballymena looming. Three points there will help lift everyone's confidence."

With the departure of Ruaidhri Higgins and Brown, Kearney is hoping to bolster his squad over the course of the next month.

"We'll wee what happens," he added. "I think all clubs are in the same boat in terms of doing business at this time of the season, so that can be frustrating."

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