NEW Coleraine manager Rodney McAree has vowed to continue the good work started by his predecessor Oran Kearney after taking over the reigns at the Showgrounds.
The 44-year-old has signed a two and a half full-time contract with the Irish Cup winners and officially began his role on Monday morning.
Speaking at a press conference at the Showgrounds on Friday, the former Dungannon Swifts boss admitted it had been a wrench leaving his hometown club but added that the lure of managing Coleraine was too good to turn down.
And he insisted he would do everything in his power to build on the foundations left in place by previous manager Oran Kearney who has left to take over at Scottish Premiership club St. Mirren.
“I’ve been at Dungannon since I was a child and it’s been a big part of my life,” he said.
“However, as a footballer I wanted to develop myself, to go and play at the highest level and better myself, and it’s the same as a coach or a manager – I want to do the best I can.
“The success we enjoyed at Dungannon last year has been well documented and I had the chance to move on end of last year but it wasn't the right opportunity.
“This opportunity has come through the bravery of Oran Kearney to go on bigger and better things and it has been something of a surprise but a very welcome surprise.
“It was a passion of mine for a time to get involved with a club like Coleraine and I’m extremely proud to be sitting here as Coleraine manager looking forward to working with a great group of players.
“It’s an exciting challenge for me. There’s a very talented group of players here that is used to winning games of football and I hope that will continue.
“I believe there are similarities between myself and Oran so hopefully the transition is a smooth one for the players.
“I can't wait to get started to be honest.
“I love being involved in football and hopefully as a club we can continue in the same direction as the past couple of years,” he added.
His new chairman, local businessman Colin McKendry, admitted that while it was disappointing to lose Oran Kearney to Scotland, he believed Rodney was the perfect fit to begin a new era at the Showgrounds.
“We had to act quickly to ensure we got the right person to ensure continuity here,” said Colin.
“We've got a good thing going here and we didn't want any vacuum to be created; we wanted to try and get the right person in.
“There were a number of people who applied and they were all good in their own right but the club identified Rod early on.
“What he has done with Dungannon is phenomenal and that's why he was identified.
“It was obviously a bit of a wrench for Rod but thankfully he said yes.
“It’s over to Rod from now on and hopefully he can kick on,” he added.
“It's the end of an era and we've got to move on – we've got to look to the future and we are looking at the future.
“We've done our business which we feel is right at a club and now it’s over to Rodney to build onb what has been started here.
“It’s exciting times for everyone at the club.”
Rodney McAree’s first game in charge is at home to Linfield on Saturday followed by the visit of Ballymena Utd on Tuesday evening in a rearranged Danske Bank Premiership game.