Lyndon Kane in no doubt who the best striker in the league is

There are a number of top strikers playing their trade in the Danske Bank Premeirship at present.

But Coleraine defender Lyndon Kane believes they have the best of the bunch in James McLaughlin.

James McLaughlin celebrates with the match ball following his four-goal haul against Dungannon Swifts

James McLaughlin celebrates with the match ball following his four-goal haul against Dungannon Swifts

And who could argue after the Ballymoney man bagged four against Dungannon Swifts on Saturday to collect his second match ball in his last five games for the Bannsiders.

“I don’t care what anyone says, on his day he is the best striker in the league,” said Kane.

“If we have a fit James McLaughlin we will do very well and he will score over 20 goals a season.

“It’s frightening how good he is. His finish for his third goal today was unbelievable.

“I’ve never saw him run so quick in all my life.

“The big man showed what he can do and I’m delighted for him. I was the first one over to celebrate with him.”

Kane believes the competition for places up front with Eoin Bradley, Emmett McGuckin, Nedas Maciulaitis and Ian Parkhill all finding the target of late too, is bringing the best out of everyone.

“Skinner missed out today through suspension but we were able to bring in Nedas.

“He did very well and set up two goals.

“Parky played there last week and did very well, and you still have Emmett who didn’t feature today.

“We have good competition all over the pitch, that breeds success and good results.

“You know that if you don’t do well one week you might have to sit out the next.

“If you’re picked it’s all about performing on the day.”

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney says McLaughlin is up there with the best strikers he has ever worked with!

“He’s probably as good a finisher as I’ve ever worked with,” said the Bannsiders boss.

“I’d put him in line with the likes of a Glenn Ferguson because he is that good a finisher.

“He’s such a natural finisher. I see it in training all the time. Left foot, right foot, header - it doesn’t matter.”

McLaughlin is now getting back to his best after missing the entire 2017-18 season with a cruciate injury.

“I always say that an injury like that brings a level of hunger and I think that has caused him to go out and get himself sorted,” said Kearney.

“He brought himself back to pre-season in really good shape, which meant we could do even more work with him to get him even fitter and sharper.

“You can physically see the difference in him.

“Against Glenavon he went for a 40 or 50 yard sprint, which you wouldn’t normally expect of him.

“I remember watching James when he was 20, he was a youth international and he had a really good turn of pace.

“With the lack of conditioning he had lost that, but now he’s got himself into shape again you can start to see the legs moving again.

“The credit doesn’t go to Coleraine this time, the credit goes to James.”

Even Dungannon Swifts boss Kris Lindsay was full of praise for McLaughlin, despite the striker putting four past his team last week.

"James is in great form at the moment," he said.

"I went and watched their game against Glenavon last week and he did really well against them too.

"Today he was strong, held the ball in and took his goals really well.

"He had a bad cruciate injury and it takes a while to get back from those.

"Yes you can come back, but it takes a good six or seven months before you're back anywhere near to the way you were before.

"I think James is starting to get back to that level he was at before the injury.

"He took his goals really well, unfortunately it was against us, but fair play to him."