Belfast Telegraph

Bannsiders now showing the determination that we need, says thrilled McAree

 

On track: Rodney McAree says Coleraine are back in groove
On track: Rodney McAree says Coleraine are back in groove

By Billy Weir

There was a world of mixed emotions for Coleraine followers after their Boxing Day cracker with Ballymena United, from elation to despair and with just about everything in between.

They took the lead away to league leaders Ballymena and then built a 3-1 advantage despite going down to 10 men following the dismissal of James McLaughlin, but in the end needed the heroics of goalkeeper Chris Johns to hold onto a deserved share of the spoils.

Manager Rodney McAree is still a relative novice when it comes to derby clashes between the local rivals but the passion, commitment and straining of every sinew was something he recognised from a previous encounter between the sides and has, at times, been missing in his tenure at the club.

"I came to this game last year to watch along with my wife and that was more like the Coleraine you would have watched last season," he admitted.

"They have to put that extra determination into every game week in, week out and the positive is that we are now unbeaten in two matches and we have to start to put a run of games together."

And next up is a trip to Warrenpoint today, somewhere that hasn't been a happy hunting ground this season with McAree's men going down by two goals to one at Milltown in November.

"Warrenpoint are a decent side and play good football under Stephen McDonnell and it's a tough place to go," added McAree.

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"We've had two big shifts from the boys and we'll ask them for another big shift but if we go to Warrenpoint and get three points then we haven't had a bad Christmas so far."

They will be without the talismanic McLaughlin after his red card, and McAree admitted that he is looking to add strength to his squad in the transfer window.

"I have plenty of players identified but it's getting them over the line," he said. "But I'll work hard at it over the next week and month to make sure we have enough bodies at our disposal."

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