Coleraine beat Dungannon Swifts 3-1 at Stangmore Park on the opening day of the season

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney says he is not overly concerned about losing top spot in the league to Crusaders.

Coleraine are now one point behind the Crues after two successive Premiership draws, while Crusaders are on a run of seven consecutive top-flight wins.

“We haven’t judged our season to date by the league table and we don’t set our targets based on where the league table is at,” said Kearney.

“We have a set amount of points we want to try and achieve this season.”

“We are on course to try and do that and we want to keep striving towards that. It’s not a case of gaining a point here or overturning this or that,” he added.

Gavin Dykes, Stephen Baxter and Oran Kearney on Saturday’s Premiership action

The Bannsiders are away to Dungannon Swifts on Saturday, with Crusaders, unbeaten in 19 games in all competitions, hosting Ards, with whom they drew 0-0 at Seaview earlier in the season.

The north Belfast club are still in the running for five pieces of silverware – the Gibson Cup, the Irish Cup, the Scottish Challenge Cup, the League Cup and the County Antrim Shield.

“For the last two months or so, it’s been a pleasure to come into training – all the lads are enjoying each other’s company and they are really working hard, that’s all you can ask,” commented Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter.

“The competition for places spurs everyone on to get their place in the team and we are looking forward to the challenges ahead.

“This is a big month for us, including a semi-final and a final, plus we have to keep our league form up as best as we possibly can.”

Danske Bank Irish Premiership – Saturday 13 January – 15:00 GMT kick-offs
Full coverage on Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website
Ballinamallard Utd v Glentoran
Ballymena United v Carrick Rangers
Crusaders v Ards
Dungannon Swifts v Coleraine
Glenavon v Cliftonville
Warrenpoint Town Linfield

Third-placed Glenavon are at home to Cliftonville, while Linfield travel to Milltown to take on Warrenpoint Town.

Carrick Rangers aim to end a sequence of 15 games without a victory when they face Ballymena United at the Showgrounds, with bottom club Ballinamallard United taking on Glentoran at Ferney Park.

Mallards manager Gavin Dykes has brought in six players so far during the January transfer window and hopes some extra quality and competition for places can spur his side on to improve on their meagre tally of just six points from 23 outings.

“We have got a few bodies in and I think the second half of the season will be much better – let’s be truthful about it, it couldn’t be much worse. We are looking forward to it.

“There have been challenges thrown down to people and it’s up to the players to step up. It’s going to be hard enough to get into the squad now, never mind the team.

“Nobody can come knocking on my door now as I know what I’ve been watching since August. There is healthy competition now and that’s the way we want it.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here