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Kearney's faith in youth repaid by Parkhill goal

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Coleraine's Steven Douglas and Glentoran's Curtis Allen in action

Coleraine's Steven Douglas and Glentoran's Curtis Allen in action

©Russell Pritchard / Presseye

Coleraine's Steven Douglas and Glentoran's Curtis Allen in action

Tim Sherwood's assertion that developing young players is more important than securing results is music to Oran Kearney's ears.

The former Tottenham Hotspur boss' fervent and overriding belief in progressing talent ahead of achieving success strikes a familiar chord with Kearney's Coleraine challenge.

Severely strapped for cash, the stark reality is that the Showgrounds supremo simply does not possess the option to go out and secure big name experienced players in the transfer market.

"I love the challenge of bringing on young players," he said after one of the newcomers he encouraged into his squad from junior football, Ian Parkhill, delivered a welcome win over Glentoran at the weekend.

In a cross channel newspaper article, Sherwood insisted the young talent in English football exists but managers and coaches may not be brave enough to give players the chance to step up to the big stage where the pressure to deliver success is enormous.

"I find myself in the situation where I don't have the luxury of a big squad full of experienced players," said Kearney.

"Nurturing young players is the only way to go and we have seen some very good examples of that here. Already this season we have the likes of Adam Mullan and Lyndon Kane in the squad with a couple more in our reserves knocking at the door."

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Right back Mullan (18) made the breakthrough last season and has started a dozen times this campaign, while 17-year-old defender Kane made his first senior league appearance on Saturday although he scored twice in a North West Cup tie back in September.

Granted, Parkhill at 24 has never played in the senior ranks before but he has stepped up from Ballymoney United and is now beginning to feel he has reached a level where he is becoming more comfortable with the demands made on him.

While Kearney admits he revels in the task of making his Coleraine team more than just a survival squad equipped to avoid the dogfight at the foot of the Premiership table, his Glentoran counterpart Eddie Patterson could find few positives from Saturday's outcome.

He slammed his lacklustre players who failed to stretch their unbeaten run over Coleraine to eight games.

"We played some sloppy football in the second half and got what we deserved - nothing," he said after a second successive league defeat.

"We should have been in front at half-time and on our way to victory but we shot ourselves in the foot and missed an opportunity to close the gap on the teams above us in the top half of the table."


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