Davy McAlinden says he couldn’t have asked for a better weekend ahead of the festive celebrations and now his Christmas wishlist has one very special football present request – a win over arch-rivals Carrick Rangers in his first East Antrim derby clash on Saturday.
And he will be joined in the dressing room for the first time by former Ballymena United right-back Mark Carlisle, who has just been appointed by the former Cliftonville player McAlinden as his assistant-manager at Inver Park.
“Mark had been coaching the youth team at Ballymena Showgrounds and we have been in discussions for the last few weeks.
“I said I would not rush into securing an assistant because I wanted to get the right man, someone I knew well and could absolutely trust. Mark is that man,” explained the Larne manager.
“I have known Mark for a long time and he has been a big influence in my career. He was playing for Ballymena when I joined them and I have great respect for him, both in football and outside of football. He was just the man I was after.
“Couple that with three great points and Saturday was quite a day for me,” added the delighted McAlinden, his team defeating a very useful Institute team 4-3 at Inver Park.
“It was a terrific result, but we should have won it a lot more comfortably, not least because we were leading 4-1 at a time when they were down to 10 men. But they are a good side, so I am very happy with the win.