Glenavon strike double blow with Skinner bid

Eddie McCallion  finds a shoulder to lean on.
Eddie McCallion finds a shoulder to lean on.

The league season may be winding down with just over five weeks left to go, but already attention has started shifting to the next campaign.

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney has told Times Sport he has already starting planning for next season and has spoken to several out of contract members of the current squad about his plans.

One of those players, striker Eoin Bradley, has been offered a new deal by the Bannsiders. However, nothing has been agreed yet.

And speculation increased at the weekend that Glenavon are ready to pounce for the Derry GAA star.

Kearney confirmed the Lurgan outfit, who beat Coleraine 3-1 on Saturday had written to the club about speaking to Bradley.

“They have contacted about speaking to the player,” said Kearney.

“Rumours are circulating that they have offered him a deal, but Gary Hamilton told me on Saturday that this isn’t the case.

“We have offered ‘Skinner’ a new deal here, but it will all come down to the player.

“Everyone knows our financial structure and we aren’t in the same boat as some teams, who it seems are able to offer a lot money in terms of wages.

“Eoin has done well since coming to us, but at the end of the day he has to make up his own mind about where he wants to play next season.”

Kearney is hoping to blood a couple of the young players, just as he did with Adam Mullan on Saturday, in the remaining league games as he looks to the future.

“Adam was one of the bright points from Saturday’s game,” said Kearney.

“He reminded me a lot of a young Aaron Canning when he first broke into senior football.

“He is a bit raw at the minute and obviously needs a bit of polishing on certain areas of his game.

“But he definitely has something about him.

“He gave a really good account of himself on Saturday and is one for the future.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to give some other young players a bit of first team action between now and the end of the season.

“It’s good for their development to get a taste of things and see how they react to it.

“As I said our financial situation means we need young players to make the breakthrough here and we certainly have some good players in and around the club.”

It was one of his senior players who upset Kearney at Mourneview Park though as the Bannsiders slipped to defeat.

With the game in its infancy Gary Browne kicked out at Winkie Murphy and was duly sent off.

“It was petulant by Gary,” said Kearney.

“Coming so early in the game and after the referee had given a warning was really silly and left us up against it.

“It’s not in Gary’s make up to be like that, but unfortunately it cost us big time. He apologised after the game, but there was nothing he could do about it then.”

The Bannsiders now entertain Linfield this Saturday as Kearney takes on his former boss for the very last time as the Windsor Park supremo.

“It’s always a big game when Linfield come to town and this Saturday will be no different,” said Kearney.

“They are pushing hard for the league and I know Davy will be doing all he can to achieve that regardless of his own situation.

“We just have to focus on our own game and play the way we are capable of .

“You shouldn’t need any motivation when the likes of Linfield are in town.”