Belfast Telegraph

New Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan says he's committed to the job and can't wait to see his old friend Stephen Baxter

By Stuart McKinley

Alan Kernaghan isn't going to use Glentoran as a route back into full-time management across the water.

Linfield fans may have seen Warren Feeney leave the club for Newport when an opportunity to take up a coaching role in the professional game close to his family home came his way, but the very same reasons will keep Kernaghan in Northern Ireland.

After leaving his job at Brentford almost two years ago, the 48-year-old returned to his roots by coming back home to Bangor with his Ulster-born wife.

He intends to stay there and is fully committed to Glentoran for at least the duration of the 18-month long contract he has signed at The Oval.

"My wife has made a lot of sacrifices for me in the years gone by," said Kernaghan, who was at Middlesbrough for eight years before spending four seasons at Manchester City, followed by more than a decade with various clubs in Scotland.

"She had been living back here when I was at Brentford. I am not saying no to anything, but it's not really on my agenda to move anywhere else."

Glentoran fans shouldn't be concerned by the lack of Irish League experience on Kernaghan's extensive CV.

Others around the country would do well to avoid falling into the trap of believing that he doesn't know the local scene.

Kernaghan has done his research. He knows Glentoran's recent record against Saturday's opponents Crusaders is good - with the most recent meeting being a 2-2 draw at The Oval.

And he has already ran the rule over Cliftonville ahead of next week's JBE League Cup trip to Solitude, having watched their 2-0 win over Warrenpoint Town last Friday night.

With Eddie Patterson's coaching staff, Tiernan and Seamus Lynch, as well as Paul Trainor, staying on, Kernaghan believes that acquainting himself with the opposition isn't a major concern.

And he already knows all about Crues boss Stephen Baxter.

"I have seen Glentoran three times up until now, all I know is the opposition that they have played in those games, but the staff that have been working here are going to remain, so I will be learning an awful lot more from them," he said.

"Stephen Baxter is someone I go a long, long way back with.

"We both went to Middlesbrough as kids, but I haven't seen Stephen since with all my time across the water.

"I am looking forward to reacquainting with him and putting ourselves up against his team, who have been doing very well over the last couple of years."

His new Big Two rival David Healy is known to everyone in Northern Ireland too.

With two former internationals now in charge of the Blues and Glens - Kernaghan represented the Republic of Ireland while Healy is Northern Ireland's record goalscorer - there is plenty of top level experience in the dug outs.

Kernaghan wants that, plus the anticipation hanging in the air ahead of Northern Ireland playing in next summer's Euro 2016 finals, to help the profile of football across the country.

"It hopefully makes the league a little bit more exciting," he said.

"We can bring our professionalism to the players, how they conduct themselves, how they train and the product they produce.

"I think it's an exciting time with what's going on with the national team as well.

"Hopefully there will be a huge upsurge in support from both a younger level with kids wanting to play football and fans coming back in more numbers."

Belfast Telegraph


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