‘Nice start’ for Reds

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The manager describes it as a ‘nice start,’ the supporters will probably be thinking Larne will need to hit the ground running to cope with what is a testing set of early season fixtures in Championship 1.

A mouth-watering home derby opener against Ballyclare Comrades on August 9 is the fore-runner to a trip to Donegal Celtic and then another appetising test: a trip to Taylor’s Avenue for an East Antrim bragging rights battle.

After that, Larne welcome Bangor and Dundela, before treading into the unknown with an away clash against Jamesy Kirk’s PSNI.

“Yes, it’s a nice start, these pretty stiff examinations of the hunger and ability of the squad and the spice intensified by the derby ties. These are the games you love playing in,” said manager, Davy McAlinden.

“It’s great to start at home and there’s a lot at stake since they (Ballyclare Comrades) beat us twice last season.

“I’m sure the supporters will already be looking forward to this and the Carrick match.

“There’s an added element in that, with DC playing down at Carrick in their first match, we will be sending somebody down to Taylor’s Avenue to assess both clubs ahead of the second and third outing.”

He added: “It’s going to be a fiercely competitive division and you could pick six or seven teams and not finish up having the champions included. But that’s great for everybody involved and we are definitely looking forward to getting it under way,” insisted the manager, who is also pleased to have a Christmas derby.

“The Glens and The Blues and others have always had a big festive fixtures and now our fans can look ahead to a game with Carrick. It’s great.”