Tiernan Lynch looking to maintain unbeaten start to Sports Direct Premiership campaign in derby clash with Carrick Rangers

Larne manager Tiernan Lynch. PIC: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Larne manager Tiernan Lynch. PIC: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Following on from their historic title success, Tiernan Lynch’s men have proved they will certainly be challenging at the top once again this time around and picked up a statement win over Linfield last Friday thanks to goals from Paul O’Neill and Andy Ryan.

They currently sit third behind leaders Glentoran and the second-placed Blues, but have been firing at both ends of the pitch with only Cliftonville (four) conceding fewer league goals than Larne’s six while Crusaders, who have netted 20 times in seven outings, are the sole team that can boast a better return.

Since their dramatic opening day draw with Dungannon Swifts in which they squandered a three-goal lead heading into the final 10 minutes, the Inver Reds have kept four clean sheets – something which was the backbone to last season’s triumph.

They take on a Carrick side that have won just one of their last six Premiership matches but Lynch is expecting another tough test.

"The Dungannon game killed us but the boys got the kick up the backside they needed,” he told the club’s media channel. “They didn't need me to tell them.

"We build and pride ourselves on clean sheets and our work-rate off the ball.

"This league is the way this league is and one week Carrick lost 9-0 to Crusaders and then went to Windsor Park and got a 3-3 draw.

"There's a lot of experience in that Carrick Rangers team.

"They are a good side, will work hard and we know it won't be easy.

"It's very much about what we do, our attitude and hopefully things go our way."

Carrick picked up a point at the same venue on Boxing Day and boss Stuart King feels he has the quality in his team to compete against any side.

"It's a derby game,” he told the club’s channel after last weekend’s defeat to Glenavon. “We will regroup.

"We will dust ourselves down and come up with a game plan to get something at Larne because it's always so tough to go there.

"When my boys produce levels like they did (against Glenavon) then we are capable of getting a result against anybody.”