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Alan Kernaghan has high hopes for new man Chris Lavery

By Stuart McKinley

Published 11/12/2015

New surroundings: Chris Lavery during his Dungannon days
New surroundings: Chris Lavery during his Dungannon days

Alan Kernaghan has made his first move ahead of the January transfer window.

And the Glentoran manager is backing new signing Chris Lavery to be a hit in the Premiership.

The 25-year-old will move to The Oval from Championship 1 side Lurgan Celtic in the New Year and Kernaghan believes that he is the perfect fit for his future vision at the club.

Lavery was previously with Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts, but after dropping out of senior football he was a key player in Lurgan Celtic's run to the Championship 2 title last season and Kernaghan is anticipating a similar impact at The Oval.

"I'm delighted to get Chris and I can see him coming straight into the team," said Kernaghan.

"He fits into the way I'd like to play and the formation, but he knows he won't be getting a free ride.

"I have seen bits and bobs of him, both live and on video. He's been positive and made a good impression.

"He will give us good balance as well as competition on the left side with Marcus Kane and Steven McCullough.

"We have spent a lot of time and effort in getting him to the club and Lurgan Celtic, who obviously didn't want to lose him, have been very good in helping us get this across the line. I am looking forward to him coming on board in January."

Although the transfer window officially opens on January 1, the need for clearance to be processed means that Kernaghan won't be able to put Lavery into the team until the Glens' Irish Cup date with Ards on Saturday, January 9.

The Oval boss, who has been in the job for just a month, is hoping that the team's form between now and then will make it difficult for any new faces to break in.

Kernaghan's men are now unbeaten in three games after losing the first two matches of his reign and there is a clear correlation between being able to keep 11 players on the pitch and results.

Marcus Kane and Niall Henderson were both red carded in his first game at Crusaders, followed by Curtis Allen's dismissal against Cliftonville in his second.

Since then the Glens have picked up seven points from a possible nine, from a draw against Dungannon Swifts and a win over Glenavon at The Oval, followed by last week's battling 4-2 victory at Ballinamallard United.

"We knew the first two games against Crusaders and Cliftonville were going to be difficult and we made mistakes with the sendings off, which hopefully we have learned from," said Kernaghan, who will try to make it four games without defeat at Portadown tomorrow.

"The players have taken on board an enormous amount of stuff and pretty much done as I've asked from the word go.

"We have a big month ahead, starting with what I expect will be a tough encounter at Portadown on Saturday. Cliftonville have to come to our place this time and we'll be better equipped than we were before.

"If we can keep playing the way we have done in recent games then hopefully we can carry this current run of form into January at least."

Kernaghan is hoping to bring more new blood into the team next month, but is prepared to be patient.

"I would like to add to the squad, but whether that happens now or towards the end of January remains to be seen. It's about getting the right players," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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