Coleraine boss McAree expecting tough test from Connah’s Quay
Coleraine boss Rodney McAree is expecting a tough test from Irn Bru-Cup opponents Connah’s Quay Nomads.
His Coleraine side will travel to the Deeside Stadium this Saturday evening, to face the Welsh Cup winners, after the Nomads reached Round Three for the first time in their history.
The Northern Irish side beat Formartine United of the Highland League on penalties, to progress to this stage of the competition.
“Its cup football at the end of the day, if you beat the opposition you progress to the next round and if you don’t you are out of the competition so we do our homework on Connah’s Quay Nomads and try to overcome a tricky hurdle.”
Coleraine boss McAree added: “I’ve managed to watch them on TV and through some clips online so at least we won’t be going into the game with no knowledge.
They have scored 18 goals in their last five games while only conceding four so that has to be respected.
We are expecting a very tough game and one which I hope the supporters will enjoy. Our support has been tremendous of late so hopefully, we can give them a positive performance and result.
It’s the first taste of the Cup that McAree will have of the competition, having recently taken over from Oran Kearney, who departed the club to join St Mirren.
McAree managed Dunnagon Swifts, guiding them to a League Cup win, their first in their history and success with his hometown team.
Dunnagon currently sit bottom of the league, whilst McAree’s new side are fighting at the top end of the table.
“I’ve enjoyed the step so far but obviously I’m looking for an improvement.
It’s been a change for the players as they have been together for a while and had been successful under the previous manager so it will take a little bit of time for everyone to adjust properly but we will get there.”
The Bannsiders currently sit fifth in the NIFL Premiership this season, having played ten games. They’ve won three, drawn six and lost once, but trail league leaders Glenavon by ten points.
Coleraine, like the Connah’s Quay Nomads, won their Domestic Cup last season.
The former Bristol City manager said: “It’s an interesting format which seems to have been successful so far.
It gives us a break from our own league and gives us an opportunity to compare ourselves with other teams from the British Isles so I only see it as a good opportunity to challenge ourselves.”
Coleraine missed out on the NIFL Championship last season by just two points, highlighting the competitiveness of the division.
Their opponents the Connah’s Quay Nomads, currently top the JD Welsh Premier League by two points.
Out of the 55 leagues in Europe, both Northern Ireland and Wales are in the bottom ten, in the latest UEFA Association Club Coefficient rankings.
Northern Ireland is ranked 52nd, whilst Wales is ranked 48th.
Despite the Welsh Premier League is ranked slightly better, the Coleraine boss sees similarities between the two divisions.
“I’d say the Welsh League and the Irish League are very similar from what we have seen so we know the game will certainly not be easy.”
Coleraine go into the game, having suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Glenavon, having initially lead the current league leaders.
They conceded two goals in two minutes, before Stephen Murray scored two second-half goals, to give inflict Coleraine’s first defeat of the season.
Connah’s Quay on the other hand, go into this game having secured victory in their last outing. They beat Cardiff Metropolitan comfortably after the Archers tamed the Welsh Premier League champions last week.
“Least weekends result wasn’t what we wanted or expected but on the day we came up against a very good Glenavon side.
We weren’t at our best but this weekend we will go again and try to learn from our mistakes.”
Connah’s Quay Nomads vs Coleraine will be televised live on S4C.
(Featured Image: NCM Media)