Match Preview

Bannsiders wanting to book semi-final spot

COLERAINE face Glentoran at The Showgrounds for a spot in the semi-final of the Tennent’s Irish Cup (KO 7:45pm)…

The Bannsiders moved two points behind Crusaders in the table as they earned a derby day win against Ballymena United. A first-half strike from Eoin Bradley was added by Darren McCauley’s deflected effort after the break to seal a 2-0 win. As for the visitors, they conceded a late equaliser against Glenavon but their point means they are six points clear in the race for a top six place.

The two sides have already met three times this season in the Danske Bank Premiership. The first was back in September as 10-man Coleraine had to settle for a point at The Oval, before the Stripes defeated Glentoran 3-0 at The Showgrounds in October. The final fixture in January went also in the way for Oran Kearney’s side as they ran out 2-0 winners in East Belfast.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney will once again assess the fitness of winger Stephen Dooley who is looking to overcome an ankle injury. Elsewhere, James McLaughlin remains the only absentee as he recovers from a knee cruciate injury. Despite the media attention being on McFall’s return to management, Kearney was always expecting a ‘big game’ between the two sides.

“Tuesday is big game for both sides,” Kearney said.

“I’m sure Glentoran have their own agenda and a lot has been made about Ronnie McFall and all that goes with that.

“But we have spoken in the changing room, especially when the cup games come around, as a club and a group that we feel we have unfinished business in the Irish Cup.

“It whet our appetite last year, it gave people the taste of a final and the experience of the day was brilliant.

“The outcome of the day wasn’t good but I still stand over that it’s been a huge catalyst for us and our success going forward.

“But we want to get back there and we want to do it again, but go that step further.

“Glentoran are the next obstacle that stands in front of that and we want to use the hurt and pain from last year as a motivation.

“Glentoran have always had a cup pedigree.

“So even under Gary, I wouldn’t have sat thinking that it was going to be straightforward.

“In a one-off game at this stage of a cup anything can happen.

“A new manager always brings in that fresh impetus and momentum and Glentoran certainly have that at the minute.

“But our home form has been very good, our form is general has been good and it’s important that we keep the focus on us.”

As ever, those unable to attend can follow the latest updates via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC). Supporters are reminded that entry to the fixture is via a cash turnstile only.