Belfast Telegraph

McAree expects his men to go and light up Windsor once again

Blues brothers: Coleraine boss Rodney McAree is relishing the challenge of taking on David Healy’s Linfield
Blues brothers: Coleraine boss Rodney McAree is relishing the challenge of taking on David Healy’s Linfield
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Rodney McAree has warned Coleraine's new signings that they face a fight to get into the team.

The Bannsiders brought in seven players during the January transfer window.

Dylan King, Ben Doherty, Jamie Glackin and Dean Shiels are among the new arrivals, giving McAree real options.

However, the Coleraine boss has said that no one will walk straight into the starting XI.

"Everybody is playing off a level playing field at the moment," he said. "It's not the case that just because you have signed players that they are going to automatically get into the team.

"Players have to make sure that they are doing their job, carrying out their responsibilities, being professional about how they do it, and making sure they turn out performances. If they don't do that then, at the moment, we have plenty of options that we can replace people with. That is the enjoyable side of it."

Coleraine have lost just one of their last 10 games and moved fourth after beating Dungannon on Tuesday night.

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Tomorrow they go to leaders Linfield in the stand-out match of the weekend fixtures.

McAree believes they can travel to Windsor Park high in confidence.

He said: "It's a tough place to go but we've had a good run of results and we have to go there with the belief that we can get a win or a result.

"It's not going to be easy because they are on a good run too.

"Yes, it's going to be a tough match but it is one we should relish. We've had two clean sheets in a row which is great for Chris Johns. Over the past while we've maybe relied on him to pull us out of holes, the past two games we haven't really, the boys have done the job in front of him."

Linfield have won just once in the sides' last six meetings.

And it was McAree's men who came out on top when the teams last met, also at Windsor Park, in November.

McAree felt that win was one of their best performances since he took charge.

He said: "We did well the last day we were there - we played some excellent football.

"We are capable of playing good football and through the course of time, with better pitches, we can continue to improve.

"But the last day we went to Windsor Park was a real highlight.We have to go and try and challenge ourselves to do that again."

With seven new arrivals, and captain Stephen O'Donnell fit again, McAree faces another selection dilemma tomorrow.

One player pushing for a start is Shiels, who has joined from Derry City. McAree, though, admits he has to be eased back into action.

"I was very tempted to start him on Tuesday night but we have to be very conscious that he hasn't played a game since probably November," he added.

"It's about easing him back in at the right time and doing the right thing for him.

"We felt, in the last two games, that leaving it until the last half-hour was the right time to introduce him. That way the game starts to open up and he gets on the ball more. He's been great to have about with his experience."

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