Connahs Quay test will be “very tough” says Coleraine boss McAree

The result of the inclusion of Welsh and Irish sides in the Scottish Irn Bru Cup has been the cross-national fixtures the cup competition has thrown up, leaving JD Welsh Premier League fans not quite sure what to expect from visiting top tier sides. 

When Connahs Quay Nomads face off against Coleraine tomorrow evening, this will be much the case for the Nomads faithful.

However, whilst the name of the Irish club may not ring many bells for Welsh fans, the name of their manager will be less so.

Former Fulham & Bristol City midfielder Rodney McAree took over Coleraine when former manager Oran Kearney left the club this September to manage Scottish Premier League St Mirren.

Between 1994 and 1999, McAree plyed his trade in the English football league with both Fulham and Bristol City, racking up over 30 appearances for the two clubs, after coming through the Liverpool youth side.

However, after hanging up his playing boots, his managerial career has begun with a bang. After taking over Dungannon Swifts in 2011, his side achieved a seventh placed finish last , as well as securing the League Cup title. It was this cup success that he cites as key in being given the role at his new club, as he was recently appointed first team manager at his new club Coleraine.

But life has been more difficult at his new club, who are yet to secure a win under their new boss with three draws and one loss. But, the new boss insists it will take time to adjust, after the club lost their first game in 11 months on Saturday, as Glenavon defeated the Bannsiders 4-1.

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“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.”

“Least weekends result wasn’t what we wanted or expected but on the day we came up against a very good Glenavon side and we weren’t at our best but this weekend we will go again and try to learn from our mistakes!”

Since the evolution of the Irn Bru Cu, McAree has yet to have had the opportunity to manage in the competition.

But the manager is excited about the challenge of taking on sides from around the British Isles.

“It’ll be my 1st involvement with the Irn Bru Cup and one that I’m looking forward to, 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.”

However, due to the nature of the format of the competition, McAree’s side will not have come up against the Nomads on many an occasion but, he has ensured that his side have done their homework on their opponents.

The challenge of taking on one of Wales’ strongest sides is a tough task for Coleraine claims the manager.

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“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.”

“I’ve managed to watch them on TV and through some clips on-line 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.”

But, despite the cross-national fixture, the manage believes that the Danske Bank Premiership and the Welsh Premier League are very similar , so he expects a tough game against Connah’s Quay on Saturday evening.

“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.”

However , the club will be bringing a core travelling contingent who will be backing the Irish club in North Wales this Saturday, and McAree and his players are thankful for their support.

“Our support has been tremendous of late so hopefully we can give them a positive performance and result! After a days travelling and some socialising I’d expect them to make plenty of noise which I’m sure the players would be very appreciative of!”


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