COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney is calling on the club’s fans to return ‘in their droves’ as the team prepares to play its first game on the new pitch this weekend.
The Showgrounds has resembled a building site for much of the summer as last season’s Danske Bank Premiership runners-up installed a new synthetic pitch to replace the former grass pitch.
Work has also been undertaken in the changing room area at Ballycastle Road with the club’s players expected to get a first glimpse of the new-look facility when they report for training on Tuesday evening.
Fittingly, derby rivals Ballymena Utd are the visitors on Saturday but the Bannsiders’ boss admits he doesn’t care who the opponents are - he’s just glad to have a home game!
“I hope with it being a derby it brings out even more people,” he said.
“The Showgrounds is a brilliant ground, a real old fashioned ground, and when you get a real good crowd in it it’s noisy.
“We’ve had some great days in it over the years and we just look forward to getting back in there.
“Our away support in particular, and the ones that travel, have always been fantastic but now that we have the venue for them to come back to I hope they come out in their droves so we can get back to that ‘fortress Showgrounds,’” he added.
Coleraine go into the game in good form, having picked up a deserved point in a 1-1 draw with defending league champions Linfield at the National Stadium.
A spectacular Conor McKendry strike minutes from full-time cancelled out a Christy Manzinga goal to stretch Coleraine’s unbeaten run to four games.
Report: page 47.