Belfast Telegraph

It's friends reunited for McAree but he's keen to steady the Coleraine ship


Rodney McAree
Rodney McAree
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Coleraine boss Rodney McAree admits that being in the opposition dugout against Dungannon Swifts this afternoon will be a surreal experience.

McAree takes on his former club for the first time since moving to the Bannsiders in September.

After spending most of his playing and coaching career at Stangmore Park, today he will be plotting their downfall.

And while it will be a strange feeling for the one-time Swifts hero, McAree insists sentiment will have to be cast aside, with Coleraine needing to respond after a 4-0 drubbing at Glenavon last Friday night.

"Obviously a game like this has a bit more meaning, and it's one that I'm looking forward to," he said.

"Dungannon is obviously a team I know a lot about, but on Saturday it's all about getting three points.

"We'll have to fight for them, it will not be easy. I know the strength and quality of the Swifts' players. But for us it's all about getting back on track."

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Dungannon have lost Ryan Harpur to Ballymena United but they have appointed Chris Hegarty as their new captain with Seanan Clucas taking over as vice-captain after the pair both agreed new contracts with the club. The Tyrone men play four times in 11 days over the Christmas and New Year period.

They host Glenavon in their Boxing Day derby, and Ards next Saturday, before a trip to Glentoran on New Year's Day.

But first comes today's game at The Showgrounds, where the focus will be on the Coleraine manager.

McAree played for Dungannon for eight years and was part of the team promoted to the Premiership in 2003.

Later he became involved in the coaching set-up at Stangmore Park and guided Dungannon to their first major trophy - the League Cup - earlier this year.

However, he quit in September to take over at Coleraine, after Oran Kearney departed for St Mirren.

McAree was at Crusaders on Saturday, where Dungannon suffered a 1-0 defeat.

He added: "It was strange, but it was nice to go and see the people still around the club.

"I'm still a supporter as such, and it was nice to go and watch as a supporter."

Kris Lindsay is now in charge of Dungannon, and McAree believes they have made a good appointment.

"I think Kris has been well received by people," he said. "He's a young, up and coming manager and it's good business by Dungannon."

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