Belfast Telegraph

Shrewd Kernaghan is leaving nothing to chance

By Keith Bailie

Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan has gone the extra mile to make sure that his team is as well prepared as possible for their trip to Ballinamallard - or rather an extra 200 miles.

The Glens travel to Ferney Park this afternoon and although Kernaghan is only a few weeks into his first job in the Danske Bank Premiership, he isn't going into the unknown.

The Glens boss undertook a 200-mile round-trip from his home in north Down to Fermanagh last Friday night to watch Whitey Anderson's men lose 2-1 to Coleraine - a day before his side recorded a 2-0 win over Glenavon.

The venture, which took some seven hours in total, will be worth it if the Glens collect another three points today.

Kernaghan was impressed both by Ballinamallard's team and their facilities.

He explained: "I went down last Friday night to watch them play Coleraine, who are obviously in a great run of form at the moment.

"I was keen to get down there and see what Ballinamallard were all about ahead of our match with them.

"Although Coleraine won the game, it really could have gone either way. Ballinamallard missed a decent chance when the score was 1-1.

"I was really impressed with the team and the set-up down there.

"The pitch is fantastic. We've had some bad weather recently, but hopefully the weather conditions are a little better for our trip to Fermanagh, so we can see a good game of football."

Kernaghan believes it's vital that Glentoran build on last week's success against Glenavon, which was his first win as manager. Jonathan Smith and Steven Gordon both found the net on a wind-swept afternoon at The Oval.

"I've said to the players, the season begins here," said Kernaghan.

"We enjoyed our win over Glenavon, but it's just the start of our season. We can't afford the Glenavon win to be a one-off, we need to kick on from this point and start climbing up the league table."

Glentoran have been without a number of important first-team players in recent weeks, forcing Kernaghan to draft in youngsters such as Karl Hamill, Patrick Cafolla and Jonathan McCaw into the squad.

However, former Manchester City and Middlesbrough player Kernaghan says he has no intention of rushing players like Marcus Kane and Stephen McAlorum back from injury, as he believes that approach can be counter-productive in the long run.

"I don't expect any of our injured players to return for the Ballinamallard game, it's still too early for them," said Kernaghan.

"In the past, players have declared themselves fit when in reality they're not 100 per cent and they go straight into the team.

"That's how you pick up more injuries. It's the wrong way to go about things and it doesn't help you in the long-term.

"So, we've now a new way of doing things. The protocol now is that players must have a full two weeks of training under their belts before they come back into the starting line-up."

Glentoran and Ballinamallard have already played each other this season, with the Mallards winning 2-0 at The Oval.

Belfast Telegraph


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