Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Picture: Pacemaker Belfast.
COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney was pleased to see his side reach the third round of the BetMcLean League Cup last night.
The Bannsiders held a 1-0 advantage at half-time courtesy of a Ben Doherty spot kick, before Ian Parkhill went home with the match ball after netting a hat-trick after the break.
Speaking after the fixture, Kearney insists the key thing was progressing into the next round of the competition.
“It is just about getting through to the next round,” Kearney admitted.
“It is nearly like groundhog day when you deliver your team talk for night's like that, were you have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
“That was probably compounded this week with the fact that the Glenavon game was switched to Friday night so three games in six days is a tough ask.
“It is also a game of chess were you are trying to ensure that you, number one, get the result without needing extra-time, and, number two, protect people who have had a heavy load inside the last month."
Kearney was quick to praise Parkhill who netted his first hat-trick in senior football.
“It is great for Ian (Parkhill) because the only instruction I ever give him is to play like you train, pretty much," he continued.
“At training, Ian does that all the time and it is non-stop and he is as talented of a player as we have in the squad.
“At times on a Saturday I feel that he plays within himself and I felt that when the first went in then the shackles came off a bit and it was great for him.
“After the game, I said in the dressing room that senior hat-tricks are hard to come by so I am delighted for him."
The healthy lead allowed Kearney to substitute Stephen O'Donnell, Stephen Lowry and Josh Carson from proceedings, but he insists this was all down to managing the squad for the tasks ahead.
“We tried to wrap up all the older players and all the ones who struggle with the need for WD40, Stephen O'Donnell will be delighted to hear me saying that,” joked Kearney.
“He was carrying a knock from Saturday and last night was the perfect night were ideally if you can get your game put to bed around 60 or 65 minutes, then you can change it.
“You don't want to go from last Saturday's game to the Glenavon game not having played because it is not right to have done nothing all week.
“Tonight was like a little bit of training and the aim is to get minutes into everyone and it is good to get a shift out of everyone."
Kearney revealed that he is expecting some transfer activity in the coming days.
"There will be a bit of movement both ways at this point in time so we are hoping to get a few bits of business done and hopefully we will know more in the next 24 or 48 hours."