Gary Haveron is a Larne man through and through, but he never sported his hometown colours in a widely travelled career and, although he stresses he has always wanted to see the Inver Park teams do well, he doesn’t really regret not playing for them.
The Carrick Rangers manager was speaking ahead of Saturday’s big derby clash with his hometown club - a match that clearly has an extra edge since his appointment at Taylor’s Avenue.
“I am proud to be from Larne, but I suppose the opportunity never really arose to play for the club, because I was either playing at a higher level or, back home, went to play with clubs with greater opportunities to win things,” explained the Carrick Rangers manager.
“I had an invite once when Tommy Kincaid was the manager, but I went to play for Larne Tech Old Boys instead because I had been involved with them since I was 12 years old.
“I have always looked out for Larne’s results and want to see them do well, I definitely have no hard feelings whatsoever towards them. But, naturally, I won’t be wanting them to win this Saturday.”
He added: “It’s obviously a fixture both clubs will have earmarked from the start of the season as one they desperately want to win, especially with the respective supporters having such a great rivalry.
“I have seen Larne a couple of times and know Paul Maguire is an obvious threat in a team which Graham McConnell will have well-organised and prepared to give their everything for the jersey.
“But we will be flat-out to win because we don’t want to see any more daylight developing between ourselves and the teams above us.
“We have three big players available again this weekend – Richard Gibson, Ryan McCann and Corey Davidson – and now I have the problem of selecting a team from those who did very well last weekend along with those additions.
“But that’s not the worst kind of headache for a manager to have and I’m certainly not complaining about,” assured Haveron.
Reflecting on Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Dundela, Haveron said: “When you have scored first and held the lead for a long time, it’s only natural that you feel a bit disappointed not to come away with a win, especially when we went very close to getting a second goal which would probably have secured that.
“On the other hand our goalkeeper had to make a terrific save late on to prevent them snatching all three points, which would really have been an injustice on us.
“All things considered, the players gave their all and I have always said that I can’t ask for more.”