Coleraine midfielder Josh Carson knows their will be a lot of focus on the club this Saturday following Oran Kearney’s departure.
Many will be watching on eagerly to see ho w the Bannsiders cope following Kearney’s decision to leave the club and take up the reins at St Mirren.
Carson though says the players will be focused on the job in hand.
“There’s no doubt there will be a lot of focus on us this weekend,” he said.
“I’m sure Ards will be highlighting it and be out to ask a lot of questions about us now Oran has left. It’s important we go there and give a good account of ourselves and get the three points to keep everything ticking over.
“They had a great result last week against Linfield. They went to Windsor and defended really well and it shows what they are capable of.
“I know a lot of lads who play for them and they are hungry to do well and get more points on the board.”
Carson admitted it had been a strange week as they realised their boss was moving on to pastures new.
“Yeah it’s been a strange one as Oran has obviously been a big part of Coleraine over the last eight years,” he said. “He has done a fantastic job, and been brilliant with every player.
“We’ve all stood by him and wanted to do well for him, and we’re delighted he has got this opportunity.
“The day after the Crusaders game we sort of knew things were heading that way with all the speculation.
“We felt this time that he would definitely be going because it was such a big chance for him, and they don’t always come around. He sent a message out to us all on the Wednesday saying he was 95% sure what he wanted to do.
“Then at training on Thursday night he told us he was going to go for it.”
Whoever the Bannsiders appoint they will have big shoes to fill as Carson knows all too well.
“Oran was probably the best manager I’ve played under,” he said.
“His man-management skills, the way he talks to you, the way he sets you out on the pitch, explaining what he would like to improve in your game, and showing you on the training pitch were second to none.
“It made me realise a lot about him and also me as a person. What you see is what you get with Oran, he’s an absolute gentleman. I have no doubt he will be a success in Scotland.”
Ards boss Colin Nixon also believes Kearney will make a big impact with St Mirren.
“What Oran has done at Coleraine is quite remarkable,” he said. “I have massive respect for him, I like his work ethic, I liked it as a player too, which he has instilled in his player. I hope he really does well with St Mirren.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a wrench for Coleraine to lose him.
“I don’t think there’s ever a good time to play Coleraine.
“Hopefully though the off-field business may cause a bit of a distraction for them.
“We just have to take care of ourselves and prepare the right way.”
Nixon was quick to highlight the job Kearney achieved in recent years turning the Bannsiders fortunes around.
“My first game in charge of Ards was away to Coleraine,” he said.
“They were on a bad run at the time and he was getting a bit of stick about it.
“That has stuck with me because seeing what he has gone on to achieve since then has been brilliant.
“His only regret is probably that he didn’t have the chance to go and finish the job and win a league.
“That’s something they are capable of as they don’t lose games, that’s a good trait to have if you want to win the league.
“Oran has left the club in a great state, and anyone who comes in after him will be in a very fortunate position.
“The structures are in place and it’s a very attractive proposition for anybody.”