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Leading way: Oran Kearney says Coleraine can build up crucial momentum

Leading way: Oran Kearney says Coleraine can build up crucial momentum

�INPHO/Brian Little

Leading way: Oran Kearney says Coleraine can build up crucial momentum

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney believes his men face 11 cup finals as they chase down their first league title for 46 years.

The Bannsiders' one and only success was back in 1974, but the positive vibes hovering over the Showgrounds of late would suggest that is all about to change.

Kearney's boys are tucked in only four points behind leaders Linfield at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

They make the journey to east Belfast tomorrow to face a rejuvenated Glentoran - they this week announced that they are debt-free after facing closure merely 18 months ago - who have lost only twice in 21 games in all competitions.

Kearney insists nothing other than three points will be good enough to keep his team's challenge on the boil.

"What has happened at Glentoran has been well documented - the club is flourishing on and off the pitch," said Kearney, who returned to Coleraine at the beginning of the season after spending one year in the full-time environment at St Mirren.

"It's coming into an exciting time of the season. People will elude to the run we had a couple of years ago (when pushing Linfield all the way) and then the Irish Cup final after it.

"I remember the effect each game had, we just rolled from one match to another.

"I suppose we are back into that same type of feeling again.

"We are very excited about it and we are looking forward to it. We just want to put in a good account of ourselves in every game."

Kearney boosted his striking options by snapping up Stewart Nixon from Carrick Rangers and Glentoran striker Curtis Allen before the transfer window closed last week.

He is also delighted that the influential Eoin Bradley has returned to training following a groin injury.

"We are getting there in terms of getting boys back again," he added. "Stewart Nixon will be available this week, but Curtis Allen is out because he is on loan from Glentoran.

"On the injury front, things are starting to shape up very well. Skinner (Bradley) trained this week and he is in good shape again.

"Ben Doherty is also progressing nicely, although Saturday just may be a bridge too far for him, while Aaron Jarvis is getting close to fitness after his operation.

"We also have Josh Carson back from suspension.

"We have 11 league games left and they are 11 cup finals.

"There is a real buzz about that. I keep reminding the players that this is the reason why we are involved in football.

"I'd hate to be stuck in mid-table or not have anything to play for over the remainder of the season.

"In that scenario, training would be tough and weekends tough as well, whereas it's all excitement and optimism.

"If we harness that and put it into results, we'll not be far away.

"These are the games you want to be involved in.

"Glentoran are sitting second top, but it's up to us to go there and get something from the game."

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