Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine happy to be written off, warns Gareth McConaghie


Gareth McConaghie
Gareth McConaghie

By Graham Luney

Coleraine defender Gareth McConaghie says the Bannsiders are happy to written off by many doubters.

The wheels came off the Coleraine bandwagon after Oran Kearney's departure to St Mirren but his return to the north-west has provided a spring in the step for players and supporters.

When Kearney left, the Bannsiders were flying high at the top of the table but now the expectations aren't quite as lofty.

And yet the players know what they are capable of, especially after sweeping aside Linfield 4-2 at Windsor Park a fortnight ago.

But one win from the opening four fixtures is not the start they hoped there and improvement is needed.

With a tough trip to Glenavon tonight, the hurdles don't get any easier following the scoreless draw at home to Institute.

McConaghie hasn't featured as much as he would have liked, but he remains hopeful the club can enjoy a productive season.

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"Performance-wise the first few matches have shown some promise," said the 31-year-old.

"My slip cost us three points against Cliftonville and there was a moment of madness from James (McLaughlin) against Glentoran, followed by an onslaught.

"We were outstanding against Linfield.

"Oran (Kearney) demands a strong work ethic and respect and everyone is buying into it.

"It's going to be an interesting season for us.

"People have written us off because of last season's performances but we have belief as a team and we know that, on our day, we can match and beat anyone, it's about going out and proving it.

"It's early for us to say we are going to challenge for a league title but we would like to take aim at the top four. All you can do is take one game at a time in this league.

"There's no point in having wild expectations because they can trip you up.

"We are happy to be underdogs and spring a few surprises along the way.

"The boys were brilliant against Linfield and it certainly set a benchmark in terms of the standard we want to compete at."

The Bannsiders go into tonight's game lifted by news of a triple swoop for Martin Gallagher and Aaron Jarvis from Institute, while striker Nedas Maciulaitis has joined from Annagh United.

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