FOOTBALL: O'Kane seals move to Torquay

COLERAINE boss David Platt has spoken of his 'mixed emotions' after talented midfielder Eunan O'Kane left the club to sign for League Two club Torquay United at the weekend.

The 19-year-old made no secret of his desire to get back to England again following his release by Everton in the summer. And those dreams were released following a successful trial at the Devon club last week.

Platt told Times Sport that he was delighted to see O'Kane move back in full time football, but admitted that his departure was a huge blow for the Bannsiders.

"From a selfish point of view I'm absolutely gutted to lose Eunan," said Platt. "He has been terrific for us and he has enjoyed his time here, scoring goals as well as helping to create them.

"But from a personal point of view I'm delighted to see him progress.

"Eunan arrived here as a relative unknown, but he showed just how much talent and ability he has. He has the drive and determination to go far.

"Eunan's dream has always been to play across the water and I believe this is a good opportunity for him to take another step forward. Torquay play attractive football and that will suit Eunan.

"I did my Pro Licence with their manager Paul Buckle and he was aware of Eunan's potential. We knew a month ago that he would be going on trial with Torquay and Paul was very pleased with what he saw.

"Eunan was an absolute pleasure to work with and I am very sad to see him go, but I wish him well for his future.

"It means now that there's an opening for someone else. We had great balance about the side and the front four were a handful for anyone. Now someone else has to step up to the mark."

Platt, meanwhile, poured cold water on speculation claiming Richard Gibson was set to join rivals Ballymena United, insisting he would not let the striker go without having adequate cover in place.

Sky Blues boss Roy Walker is keen to take the striker to Warden Street to bolster his attacking options which have been severely restricted by lengthy suspensions to Andy Smith and new signing James McLaughlin.

Walker told Times Sport: "I have spoken to Coleraine about Gibson and they would be conducive to him coming but I have to convince our Board that this is a move worth making because I'm well aware of the financial constraints.

"Gibson is a big, strong lad who has a proven record of scoring goals in senior football but his progress has been disrupted at times by serious injuries, including a broken leg."

But Platt said that he and Walker only had 'tentative' talks about the striker making the move up the A26.

"I spoke to Roy briefly about Richard, really it was only a tentative inquiry," he said. "I told Richard about it but there's no way I would even contemplate letting him go unless I had someone better to come in.

"I've already lost one player and I don't plan to get rid of anyone else without having players to replace them.

"As I said last week I've spoken to a couple of players but realistically they are players for next season, but there's still a couple of weeks left before the window shuts so you never know what may happen. However I'm not actively looking to move anyone on."

Platt is hoping to finally get back into action this Saturday after tonight's (Tuesday) rearranged clash with Linfield was postponed again. That means the Bannsiders could go straight in to a potential banana skin Irish Cup tie against Championship Two side Dundela at Wilgar Park.

"I spoke to officials at Dundela at the weekend and they cleared the snow off the pitch on Saturday," said Platt. "Temperatures are set to improve towards the weekend and they are hopeful that the game will go ahead.

"There's no doubt it'll be a tricky tie for us, but the guys will be up for it and they are desperate for a game. It's been over four weeks now since our last match, but they've been keeping active behind the scenes. It'll be nice to get back to some normality again."