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Kernaghan in dark over McAlorum as Glens aim to rally


Alan Kernaghan

Alan Kernaghan

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Alan Kernaghan

Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan is hoping for the best, but fearing the worst after losing influential skipper Stephen McAlorum to injury.

The 29-year-old damaged his knee in the recent Danske Bank Premiership win over Cliftonville and now requires a scan to determine the full extent of the problem.

With defender Willie Garrett also absent because of cruciate ligament damage, Kernaghan is keeping his fingers crossed that McAlorum's injury isn't quite as severe.

"We don't know a lot at this stage," Kernaghan said.

"Stephen is awaiting a scan - it's just not looking too clever at this stage.

"He's a big player for Glentoran and we missed his influence in the Boxing Day game against Linfield. We'll have to wait and see what happens."

Kernaghan is urging his boys to bounce back after that 2-1 setback to their big Belfast rivals - it was his first 'Big Two' experience - when they make the journey to face Dungannon Swifts today.

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"It was a good advert for the Irish League," he continued.

"It was frustrating in many ways. It was a big occasion, with a packed house and a great atmosphere.

"It was a really good game of football considering the atrocious conditions.

"The boys worked hard and did things we asked of them, but we really failed to threaten their goal. It just didn't happen for us - we were a little shot shy.

"When we've had a knock back in terms of losing a game, we've managed to respond.

"We must make sure we do that by winning at Dungannon.

"Obviously, we need to improve more as we go forward.

"I don't think there is a great difference between many of the teams in this league, apart from Crusaders perhaps. We still have a lot of football in front of us."

In spite of his error that gifted Linfield their opening goal, Kernaghan has stood shoulder to shoulder with goalkeeper Aaron Hogg - he replaced Elliott Morris, who was carrying an injury.

He added: "Aaron was obviously upset, but in his defence he pulled off a number of great saves at important times.

"These things happen. It's important he reacts in the right way. It's now history - it's gone. We now have to look forward."

Meanwhile, the Swifts will be without defender Andrew Burns, who was red-carded in his team's draw at Ballinamallard United last weekend.

On the plus side, midfielder Ryan Harpur is available after serving a ban.

Manager Rodney McAree said: "This is a big test for us - Glentoran will still be smarting from their defeat to Linfield.

"But we must focus on ourselves. I was happy with our second-half offering at Ferney Park - we were not so good in the opening 45 minutes.

"They are a big strong side and hit us with everything. We rode our luck at times.

"But it was nice to get an equaliser in stoppage time and get a point.

"It's the second game in a row that has happened - it's a nice change because we had the habit of conceding late in games."

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