IRISH LEAGUE: Haveron hoping McKeown can make case for defence

Carrick's Gareth McKeown in action against Cliftonville. INLT 03-905-CON
Carrick's Gareth McKeown in action against Cliftonville. INLT 03-905-CON

Carrick boss Gary Haveron says defender Gareth McKeown has spring in his step since his move from Glenavon.

The 32-year-old joined Rangers earlier this month from the Lurgan Blues and Haveron is hoping the former Crusaders man’s experience will help prevent the defensive lapses which have cost his side so many times this season.

“Last season we lost Ciaran Donaghy and he was invaluable to us, not just for what he was doing on the pitch but the way he was off the pitch,” Haveron admitted. “He has proven a difficult player to replace.

“Young Daniel Kelly, at times, has been excellent this year at centre-back and so too have Mark Surgenor and Andrew Doyle, but there have been times when we have made silly mistakes late on in games. That’s as much a collective thing, rather than just pinning it all on defenders.

“But Gareth has come in and he’s of a different generation. He’s a big, physical and strong prescence and he’s vocal. I think it was important for us to strengthen in the right areas and bring in the right type of player.

“He has settled in well and he’s enjoying it. It’s a completely different game whenever you’re playing. He was at Glenavon where he wasn’t featuring and football can be very hard when you find yourself outside the starting eleven.

“I think the step to Carrick has given him a new lease of life. There’s a spring in his step and a change of scenery has done him the world of good and hopefully he’s embracing the challenge of what we have down at Carrick.”

He added: “We’ve got a very competitive squad now. We’re not massive in numbers but we have a tight unit and everybody wants to play. That can only be a positive thing."

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