IRISH LEAGUE: Bannsiders make move for Stute midfielder
Institute manager Kevin Deery has confirmed that Coleraine have offered Ciaron Harkin a deal.
Deery, who wants the talented midfielder to stay, is fully focused on having the ex-Derry City man in his squad for Saturday’s Tennent’s Irish Cup tie at Ballyclare Comrades (KO 3pm).
“He’s going to play for us on Saturday and then we’ll see what comes up then,” stated Deery.
“Yes Coleraine have offered him a contract but there might be more options for him, maybe later this month or even at the end of the season, but for me he’s playing on Saturday and then we’ll sit down and see what his decisions are or what options he has.
“He has been with me for 15 months and I think he has definitely improved as a player and for me there’s no doubting his work-rate and ability and, because of that, he’ll always have something good coming from that.
“But we’ll wait and see what happens over the next few days and weeks.”
Deery would love a run in this year’s Irish Cup but he know it’s going to be a tough encounter for them.
“Ballyclare beat Dergview convincingly on Friday night so they’ll go into it full of confidence,” he said.
“But we were unlucky up there earlier in the season as we were two goals to the good and didn’t hold onto our lead.
“But I told the boys that I want to get a run in the Irish Cup because last year we were disappointed losing in the first round which we came in at, so yes it will be a tough game, but one we are capable of winning.
“Maybe our luck will change as we are in a cup tie and I told the boys that, we have drawn a lot of games and haven’t lost many, so maybe we’ll go up there and put in a real performance and get into the next round of the cup.
“I was up at the draw and a lot of big teams are facing each other and then you have junior teams drawn against lower league teams, so the draw could really work in our favour, but there’s no doubt that we have a tough opener and I’m sure Ballyclare will say the same.
“But we look forward to the tie and if we get through hopefully the draw will fall generous to us and hopefully we can go on a run in the Irish Cup.”
Deery also confirmed that only striker Sammy Morrow is likely to be in his squad for the trip to Dixon Park this weekend.
“Raymond Foy’s clearance isn’t sorted yet, but he needs to get his fitness up and he played in a friendly against Trojans last night, while Andy Devlin is away until January 13 but he’ll be available for our remaining two league games before the split and the rest of the season,” he added.
“But Sammy should be available for selection, we’ll see how he gets on this week at training.”
Another man who is likely to be in the Stute squad is midfielder Niall Grace, who returned to action last Friday night, much to Deery’s delight.
“It was great to see Niall getting onto the pitch, he was very keen and overeager to get on; he did a lot running but it was really good to see him back on a football pitch,” he added.
“We signed Andy Devlin, he played his last game for Loughgall on Friday night.
“He has been excellent this season, he has been very consistent for Loughgall and he’s a good local lad as well, who can play in a number of positions across the back so we look forward to adding him to the squad.
“Our next three games in the league I’m not going to set targets, I’m going to ask the players to challenge themselves into keeping clean-sheets and see if we can really get nine points before the split and then we’ll find out what the fixtures are.”