Watch: Coleraine have the depth to cope with injury woes, insists Josh Carson
Danske Bank Premiership front-runners Coleraine have had their fair share of injury worries on their path to the top of the table.
Yet to feature in the joyful rise to the top are long-term injury victims James McLaughlin and Lyndon Kane while influential pair Brad Lyons and Eoin Bradley are now both set to miss two months of the campaign. Club captain David Kee has played only 16 minutes of the season so far as he returns from injury.
Questions have been asked how that mounting list will impact the Bannsiders' stellar form that has seen them drop just two points in their opening 11 Premiersip fixtures.
On Saturday, a disciplined second-half display saw out a narrow but impressive 2-1 win at Cliftonville. So do Coleraine have the depth to keep it up?
"Of course," said midfielder Josh Carson. "You saw that (on Saturday). We've got four key players out injured and we're able to grind out results, do well, battle and give 100%. Thankfully enough we do now have a bigger squad than we did last year. Fingers crossed we can push on and keep going in the right direction."
Carson was shunted in from the wing to central midfield in Lyons' absence and that's not a move that bothers him - even if it could last a couple of months.
"I don't mind at all," he said. "Wherever I play, I'm happy as long as I'm playing. Brad's a big miss because he's been brilliant for us but hopefully he bounces back quite quick and gets back into the swing of things."
Joe McCready scored the winner on Saturday in the early stages of the second half after an early free-kick from centre-half David Ogilby had been cancelled out. The opener certainly wasn't bad for a defender...
"He tried one earlier in the season and it sort of dribbled along the floor but when he said he was going to hit it I'm not going to argue with him," laughed Carson. "This one went in the net and it's fantastic for him. The big man's got that in abundance. Hopefully he hits another one of those soon.
"It probably wasn't a nice game to watch and definitely wasn't a nice game to be a part of but we dug in and got the three points, luckily enough. The lads have showed great character this season and we always give 100% so that was never going to be an issue. Thankfully we got the three points.
"We've got big characters in the team. When we're on the receiving end of long balls, we're getting kicked and we're getting pushed all over the place, it's a lot for people to bounce back and get three points in a game like that."
Unsurprisingly given the team's good form, former Linfield man Carson is loving life on the North Coast.
"It's a good club to be around now," he said. "We're winning, doing well, all the lads are easy to be around, everything's good craic. We're going into training and enjoying it, we're not taking everything too seriously. I think that's one of the key things for me - going into training and enjoying it, taking part in this winning sequence. Long may it continue for me and the team. Hopefully we can keep progressing and you never know where it'll take us."
Belfast Telegraph Digital