Ask Larne boss Davy McAlinden what’s the most important game of the 2016-17 season and you’ll get a swift, no-nonsense resposnse: ‘the first one’.
The Inver Park supremo isn’t looking any further ahead than the opening day fixture against Armagh City on August 13 and he admits he doesn’t get pre-occupied with who his team will play at any particular juncture in the forthcoming Championship campaign.
“I’m one of them boring people who thinks that we play each team twice and then we see where we’re at. Then, hopefully, we’ll play the top section twice again. I don’t think it has a massive bearing on things,” he said.
“That said, it’s good to start at home but Armagh finished third last year and its going to be a difficult one. That will set the tone but all the games in our league are difficult.”
He added: “There’s no point in saying, let’s look at this fixture or that, or let’s look at Boxing Day. I could be sacked by Boxing Day!”
McAlinden, who is actively on the hunt for a goalkeeper, has persuaded former Cliftonville Olympic boss Michael Press to join him as his assistant at Larne and he feels its a bit of coup for the club.
“We go back a long time and all of the staff are really excited about his arrival. Michael will add to what we’ve got. He’s a player’s person and he knows the game inside out and he and I have a brilliant relationship going back to the days when I worked under him at Solitude.
“I was surprised to hear he had left Cliftonville but once I had a couple of conversations with him I knew it was something he was interested in.
“On the player front I have a few more things that I expect to take shape - especially on the goalkeeping front because we don’t have one! We’ll need to address that, which we are trying to do. It’s a difficult market and we will get where we want to be. It just might take a little bit longer than we might have hoped but we’ll get there.”