COLERAINE return after a two-week break as they are the visitors to in-form Cliftonville this afternoon (KO 3pm)…
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Coleraine are back in action after missing out on last week’s Irish Cup action, meaning the Bannsiders’ last fixture was a 1-0 win against Glenavon as Jamie McGonigle netted an 89th-minute winner. Oran Kearney’s side are currently 6th in the Premiership standings and will check on the fitness of a host of players before travelling to Solitude. Despite not being in a competitive action last weekend, the Stripes did beat Limavady United in a friendly via goals from Senan Devine and Jack Scott.
Cliftonville have played twice since the Bannsiders were last out on the pitch as they reached the quarter-final of the Irish Cup, before coming back from a two-goal deficit to earn a late draw against Glentoran at The Oval. Jim Magilton’s side will be away to Portadown in the Irish Cup and are currently 3rd in the Premiership table. The January transfer window was a busy one for the north Belfast side as Paddy Burns (unattached), Shea Gordon (Larne), David Odumosu (St Patrick’s Athletic – permanent), Ben Wylie (Ytterhogdals IK) and Eric Yoro (Bolton Wanderers – loan) all joined.
Cliftonville would pick up all three points from the first meeting between the two clubs earlier this season as they ran out 5-0 victors at Solitude. The Bannsiders would shade the first-half but would ultimately be behind at the break as a corner kick was headed on by Jonny Addis at the far post and the instinctive Joe Gormley was in the right place at the right time to head home from close range. However, the Reds were in cruise control after the interval as Ben Wilson scored twice, alongside Gormley completing a hat-trick to make it a night to remember for Jim Magilton’s side.
In October, Coleraine would welcome Cliftonville to The Showgrounds and were left wondering how they didn’t take a first-half lead as Jamie Glackin and Conor McKendry both had great opportunities saved. The Reds would score at the other end on 57 minutes as Shea Kearney’s cross was volleyed home by Ben Wilson but Coleraine would equalise 11 minutes later as McKendry blasted high into the roof of the net. It looked like the game was always going to be settled by one goal and it was Cliftonville who got it as good work by Stephen Mallon allowed Sam Ashford to convert from close range.
Furthermore, the two teams would be paired in the Irish Cup for the third successive year as The Showgrounds played host. After a goalless 90 minutes – which included red cards for Cliftonville’s Sam Ashford and Coleraine’s Lyndon Kane – the extra-time period would belong to Ronan Hale as he netted a devastating hat-trick to send the Reds through to the next round.
“Every game is tough in this league,” said Kearney.
“People laugh at you when you say that but it’s true.
“Glenavon was tough, the week before that was tough, week before was tough and this weekend will be tough as well.
“It’s been nice to get that win against Glenavon, nice for everybody associated with the club, board, fans, everybody.”
The match referee will be Lee Tavinder.
The assistant referees are David Burns and Shane Geary.
Tony Clarke has been appointed as the fourth official.
Coleraine supporters will require tickets for the contest which can be bought HERE.
We would urge supporters to arrive at the ground in good time and respect residents and businesses in terms of parking your vehicle.
As ever, those unable to watch the fixture can follow the latest developments via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC).