Match Preview

Hat-Trick Opportunity

COLERAINE will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of Irish Cup finals as they face Crusaders tomorrow (KO 5:30pm)…

The Stripes will be looking for a positive result after last weekend’s defeat to Institute at the Brandywell. Coleraine were largely second best throughout the contest and were punished as Aaron Jarvis scored on 89 minutes to give ‘Stute all three points. As for the Crues, they will be buoyed by their comeback against Ards last weekend as goals from Declan Caddell and Ronan Hale secured a point after being 2-0 down at the Bangor Fuels Arena.

The fixture will be the fourth meeting between the two sides this season, with the Bannsiders winning the first at Seaview as goals from Josh Carson and Jamie McGonigle (2) earned a 3-0 success. A few months later, a solitary strike from Gareth McConaghie was enough to edge all three points towards the Irish Cup holders as Rodney McAree secured his first win as boss. The recent meeting went in the way of Crusaders as they ran out 4-2 winners at Seaview in February.

The Bannsiders have reached the semi-final stage after wins against H&W Welders, Dergview and Larne. They know a win against Crusaders will mean a third successive showpiece final. Crusaders have had to overcome Glentoran, Linfield and Ballymena en-route to the final four. The winner of tomorrow night’s clash will face either Ballinamallard United or Warrenpoint Town in May.

Coleraine boss Rodney McAree will be without the services of Lyndon Kane, Aaron Traynor, Aaron Burns and Alexander Gawne through injury. Further absentees include Cormac Burke and Dylan Davidson who are cup-tied. However, it is expected that Stephen O’Donnell, Aaron Canning and Jamie McGonigle will be in contention to start after missing out last weekend.

“The players will be up for it and I think they will automatically go into an Irish Cup semi-final with the belief, effort and desire to win,” McAree said.

“We need to figure out what is required to beat Crusaders and hopefully we can do that.

“We need to work on our defending and identify problems, we need to talk about them problems and analyse them in the hope that players take things on board.”

As ever, those unable to attend can follow the latest developments via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC).

Supporters are reminded that entry is via tickets only, with Coleraine fans being allocated the Railway Stand.