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Striker Allen to get his chance for Coleraine as Kearney forced to mix it up due to McLaughlin suspension

 

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Close: Curtis Allen sends in a shot on goal for Coleraine

Close: Curtis Allen sends in a shot on goal for Coleraine

�INPHO/Matt Mackey

Close: Curtis Allen sends in a shot on goal for Coleraine

Curtis Allen is set to return to the Coleraine team for today's Danske Bank Premiership visit to Glenavon as boss Oran Kearney is forced to make the first change to his starting XI this season.

Following the red card received by James McLaughlin for the challenge which broke the leg of Glentoran's Bobby Burns in last week's victory at the Showgrounds, the striker is out of the game at Mourneview Park and Allen, waiting patiently for his chance, is in line to make his first start of the season.

An unused substitute against his former club last Saturday, Allen has played just 27 minutes this season since starting in the shock North West Cup semi-final defeat by Dergview at the beginning of October.

"Yes, we lose our three-game streak of naming the same XI so will have to make some sort of change," said Kearney. "Fortunately we have Curtis back, Ian Parkhill is training again, so it's up to those guys to step up and grab their opportunity."

Kearney admitted his hand has been forced in the first few games of the season with up to seven squad members on the injury list and "a few ghosts on the bench" last week, but he has been delighted with the response following the opening night defeat to Ballymena United.

"The one thing you're sure of in football is that defeat is part and parcel of it, it's going to happen and the key thing is the response and for us it's been brilliant," said the manager.

"First it was the Portadown win and last week we wanted to follow up with another three (points) at home and until the last 10 minutes we looked so solid. If it had have remained 11 v 11 we would have been confident of tagging on one or two more."

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Off the field it has also been a good week for Kearney with both Ben Doherty and Josh Carson signing new deals, committing them to the club until 2023.

And for Carson, because of the injury list, he has been forced to fill in at left-back and that has earned him a special clause in his new contract.

"I've a clean sheet bonus in my contract, so I might be playing there for a while," he said. "Aaron Traynor is the No.1 left-back but he's out for a couple of weeks so I'm 100% committed to playing week in, week out and if it's left-back then so be it."


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