Belfast Telegraph

Our strength in depth will give Kearney major dilemma: Johns

By Jonathan McNabb

Coleraine goalkeeper Chris Johns admits manager Oran Kearney will have a few selection headaches as the Bannsiders look set to welcome back Brad Lyons and Lyndon Kane from injury.

Kane hasn't kicked a ball in anger this season due to a broken metatarsal sustained in June, while Lyons has recently been struggling with a slight hamstring complaint.

However, both players are set to make their returns in the coming weeks.

This comes just after Eoin Bradley regained full fitness and the arrival of Stephen Dooley, who was impressive on his debut in last weekend's Tennent's Irish Cup victory against Lisburn Distillery.

"A few weeks ago we were struggling for numbers, but now we're going to have a hard time fielding everyone," Johns said.

"We have a lot of top players coming back and another one that's joined us recently.

"We haven't hit our peak yet and I'm really excited to see what we can do from now until the end of the season."

Kearney's troops have taken maximum points from their two fixtures against Dungannon Swifts this season, but Johns insists the Bannsiders won't take anything for granted when they renew their rivalry tomorrow afternoon.

"We never get it easy down at Stangmore Park," Johns continued.

"They're a really tough side to get any momentum against because they keep the ball so well, even when they're away from home.

"Hopefully we can have a repeat performance this weekend from our last game there on the opening day of the season.

"Teams and form change all the time, so I can't see our last two results against them having any bearing on this one."

Successive draws against Ballymena United and Cliftonville mean the Bannsiders are now chasing Crusaders at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, but Johns argues his side are still in a good position to challenge for their first Gibson Cup since 1974.

"We still find ourselves in a good position and our mindset hasn't changed at all now that we're second," Johns revealed.

"It's exciting times at The Showgrounds right now, the mood around the changing room hasn't changed from day one and more and more fans are turning up every week.

"We are just trying to see how far we can go."

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