Belfast Telegraph

Kee is perfect fit after injury for classy Coleraine's title bid

 

By Graham Luney

Coleraine captain David Kee has backed his men to maintain their impressive push for the Danske Bank Premiership title after returning from his injury hell.

The former Ballinamallard midfielder needed surgery to repair cruciate and cartilage damage in his left knee, but now he's back in the first team squad and fighting to get into Oran Kearney's classy side.

That will be another awesome challenge but Kee, who was ineligible for the Irish Cup Final as he was on loan from Linfield, is certainly not lacking hunger after his frustrating spell on the sidelines.

Coleraine's sensational form this campaign has only deepened his desire to return to battle and help keep the club top of the pile.

The Bannsiders may be the Christmas number one, but their target is to finish at the Premiership summit at the end of the season and there is nothing to suggest they are about to wobble.

The busy Christmas period will test the mettle of all the teams but the return of Kee and Lyndon Kane from injury is a timely boost to the north west challengers.

Coleraine visit Warrenpoint Town tonight determined to stay six points ahead of second placed Crusaders who host Ballymena United.

Kee admits it will be tough to break into the Bannsiders team but he's ready to step up over the busy festive period.

"I've been back training with the squad and it's about building fitness levels," said Kee.

"I'm feeling much fitter and it's just about keeping it going and hopefully taking my chance when the time comes.

"I've had some reserve team action but there's nothing like competing for the first team.

"It won't be easy to get into the team as the boys are flying, and you won't see me throw any dummies out of the pram.

"It's always tough being out injured, especially for a long time, but when it became clear I needed an operation I had to deal with it. I knew I would miss a chunk of the season but Martin Smith and Ciaran Harkin are in awesome form and it's great that manager Oran Kearney has options. It's all about taking your chance when it comes.

"Seeing the team play so well only increased my desire to come back as soon as possible and hopefully be part of it.

"There'll be a bit of frustration because I can't expect to play all the time but it's important the club has a strong squad if they want to challenge for trophies. There are many games coming up over the winter so the manager might be tempted to shuffle his pack and it's important I'm ready to do a job for the team."

Kee has backed the table toppers to stay in fifth gear and he always believed he could return to put his shoulder to the wheel.

"I've spoken to a few players and the physio of course and I remained confident I would come back stronger," he added. "The operation only took half an hour and I'm only 29 years old, I've a lot more to give as a player.

"I think the boys can keep it going, there's no reason why not. There's a great buzz around the place and training is really enjoyable.

"The lads are winning games every week, confidence is high and it's going to be an interesting second half of the season."

Belfast Telegraph

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