Belfast Telegraph

Alan Kernaghan will go on the attack with Glentoran

By Stuart McKinley

Goals. That's what Glentoran fans want to see from their team.

And the good news for The Oval faithful is that their new manager wants exactly the same thing.

Alan Kernaghan may have been known as a tough, no-nonsense defender during his playing days with Middlesbrough, Manchester City and the Republic of Ireland, but as a kid growing up in Bangor, before joining Boro, he was a striker - and it's that side of the game that Glens fans can expect to see come out in his team.

As he spoke to the assembled media after being confirmed as the new boss yesterday, the word 'attractive' kept coming up.

Yes, he wants to bring winning football to Glentoran, but he also wants it to be pleasing on the eye.

One of the reasons cited for the club's decision to sack former boss Eddie Patterson was that the standard of football being played by the team had deteriorated and wasn't what Glentoran expected - and this was a manager who won the Irish Cup twice in three seasons on a much reduced budget from his predecessors.

Having watched the Glens in three recent matches - against Linfield, Coleraine and Ballymena United - Kernaghan is well aware that form isn't an issue. After all, they are unbeaten in their last six games. It is class that he now wants to see.

"We will be trying to play a different style of football from what I've seen," said Kernaghan.

"That's very easy to say, but I feel it's achievable."

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Playing an exciting brand of football doesn't automatically bring goals, but it sure does help.

Only five times in their 15 Premiership games have the Glens scored more than once and there may be a direct correlation.

It is something that Kernaghan wants to remedy as soon as possible.

"If you look at our goal difference it's plus two, which we desperately need to change," noted Kernaghan.

Only the bottom three teams in the league have scored fewer goals than the Glens this season, with Curtis Allen scoring six of their 17 goals.

Leaders Crusaders, who the Glens face on Saturday, have Jordan Owens and Paul Heatley with 11 each.

"I don't think there is an awful lot to complain about in terms of the confidence of the team. That's a major plus," added Kernaghan.

"I'd just like to tweak one or two little bits in terms of their performance.

"It's a strange position (coming into a job where the team are unbeaten in six games), but a good one - in a strange way.

"I am desperate to get going in the job and hit the ground running as quickly as I can and change the ethos of the team.

"Playing attractive football is my big aim, but it's got to be successful as well. It's a thin line, but very achievable.

"Something we need to try to get into the team is some pace.

"I don't want to give too much away, but we want to be more attacking and score more goals.

"If you look at our record our top scorer is on seven and I think Linfield have three or four players who are on more than that. Certainly, we want to add more goals.

"After watching the team on Saturday the things I want to work on straight away are the decisions we make on the ball and being more attack minded.

"We have been leaving Curtis Allen a lot to do by himself.

"We need to try to support him and get more people forward.

"Supporting Curtis is a major one. He can't do everything on his own.

"He can't run down the line and cross it and head it in himself.

"The one good bit of play we had on Saturday was a good cross and midfield players getting into the box and we scored from it."

Kernaghan knows the stats though and he also knows that things aren't entirely broken.

"I think the roles will be tweaked a little bit rather than the formation changing. Giving them a slightly different emphasis," he said.

The emphasis for Kernaghan will not simply be on winning, but winning with style.

If the passion with which he spoke at his press conference can be carried over into the job then he's got every chance of being successful.

Kernaghan should be careful about what he wins though. Three of the last four Glentoran managers - Roy Coyle, Alan McDonald and Patterson - have lasted less than a season after winning a major trophy.

Belfast Telegraph


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