McAlinden ready for test against Whites

Larne boss David McAlinden.
Larne boss David McAlinden.

Larne boss Davy McAlinden admits he couldn’t have asked for much more than a 2-0 winning start with a clean sheet included, but he says the real business begins this weekend when Tommy Kincaid brings his Lisburn Distillery team to Inver Park.

“Last Saturday has been and gone. A winning start against Ballinamallard Reserves was great but the focus immediately turned to next weekend and the task of, hopefully, securing three points and making inroads into improving our position in the league table,” the determined new manager told the Times.

“The league is what it’s all about and it would be very encouraging for all concerned if we could lay down a marker in what is going to be a pretty big test for us against The Whites.

“The players are in a great frame of mind and that was evident with the great enthusiasm and determination in our play.

“And it was especially pleasing to have Ciaran Gargan starting and having 70 minutes on the wing, while it was also nice to have Robbie White coming off the bench. Those two guys will add more quality and strength to the squad and, indeed, the team.

“The Ballinamallard game may not have been a great spectacle but there was much to be happy about, not least young Josh McAllister, who did very well in setting up the two goals and winning the penalty.

“I couldn’t recall them having much more than one worthwhile chance and I asked young goalkeeper Dylan McRandal afterwards about that and he said he didn’t have a single save to make over the 90 minutes.

“However, there are things to work on and, while every single player worked extremely hard and we closed down the opposing players very well in what was an encouraging performance overall, I think maybe we can maybe do a bit better in possession of the ball when going forward,” explained the manager.

Last week, McAlinden revealed the names of a couple of his new backroom staff members and he says he’s delighted to have them on board.

“Ciaran Stitt, who is the goalkeeping coach, and Paddy Byrne, who’s the coach, were both with Carrick Rangers when we won the league and we all know one another extremely well. They know how I operate and what I expect and I they are people I trust. So I’m very happy with these appointments,” he said.

But, despite a lot of speculation doing the rounds, the Inver boss says he is in no rush to put an assistant manager in place – and has ruled out the possibility the job will be going to Irish League veteran Jimmy Brown.

“I’m not sure where it has come from, but that will not be happening,” he said emphatically.

“I have a few people in mind, obviously, but I don’t feel the need to make a hasty appointment.”