Belfast Telegraph

Kearney eyes magnificent seven but forget about title

By Steven Beacom

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney will insist his players do not take Carrick Rangers for granted today as the Bannsiders seek to continue their stunning start to the season.

Kearney's men have six league wins from six, top the Danske Bank Premiership and are a team playing with confidence and style.

Following Linfield's loss to Crusaders in midweek, Coleraine are now the only side in the top flight with a 100% record.

Most would feel that they can maintain that success rate at home to Carrick and make it a magnificent seven successive victories. Kearney, though, has respect for this afternoon's visitors to the Showgrounds and sees the match-up against Davy McAlinden's outfit as a tough contest.

"We must have the right attitude for the game against Carrick," said Kearney.

"What Davy McAlinden has done since becoming manager is inject a lot of his qualities into the side.

"They are very hard to beat and do not concede too many goals, so I think they are a dangerous opponent for us.

"We will treat them with respect knowing that we have to focus on our jobs to get the result we want."

While Coleraine supporters and other fans across the Irish League may be discussing the club's chances of being involved in a title race with Linfield and Crusaders, Kearney feels it is too early in the campaign to have such debates.

He does admit, however, to enjoying being at the top of the tree and wants his players to do the same.

"I'm enjoying it and so are the players and that's the way it should be," said Kearney.

"This is a tough league so for us to have won six games in a row is fantastic.

"We want to keep getting positive results.

"In my view though it's far too early to talk about who is going to win the title.

"We have made a great start but there is still lots of work ahead of us and we have to keep focused moving forward.

"We have to take one match at a time and that's what we intend to do."

Players such as Darren McCauley, Josh Carson and Chris Johns have rightly received much praise for their performances for the Bannsiders this season. Young midfielders Brad Lyons and Ciaron Harkin have perhaps been the unsung heroes.

Kearney, who led his side to a highly impressive third place finish in the league last season, certainly appreciates their value.

"Brad Lyons and Ciaron Harkin were fantastic in our win away to Ards last week, as they have been throughout the season," said Kearney.

"You have to remember they are only 19 and 20. They have helped us take control of games when we needed to."

Kearney himself is doing a fabulous job for Coleraine, though he is far too modest to speak glowingly about his achievements in charge to date.

He has steadied a ship that was rocking several years ago, guided them into Europe and to an Irish Cup final as well as top spot in the Irish League.

Kearney is correct to say that there is a long way to go but making it seven wins out of seven today will only add fuel to the fire that Coleraine could challenge the Blues and Crues for the prize everyone in local football craves.

Belfast Telegraph

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