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Match Preview

Midweek Derby Clash

COLERAINE will hope to close the gap at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership as they take on rivals Ballymena United at The Showgrounds (KO 7:45pm)…

The Bannsiders put in a spirited performance last weekend as they drew 0-0 with league leaders Linfield. Despite the visitors hitting the woodwork twice late on, the Stripes will feel they might have pinched all three points after creating several opportunities. As for Ballymena, they have been on their travels so far this season as the pitch on Warden Street was re-laid and they’ll be wanting a return to winning ways after suffering a 3-2 loss against Cliftonville at Solitude. The Sky Blues are currently in 6th position, with ten points after playing six games.

Coleraine faced Ballymena on four occasions last season with the first in September as goals from Stephen O’Donnell and Jamie McGonigle sealed a 2-0 win. On the annual Boxing Day fixture, Ballymena secured a deserved draw as Kyle Owens’ deflected header cancelled out McGonigle’s effort before the break. The next visit to Warden Street would also yield a 2-0 success as Eoin Bradley and Darren McCauley found the net, with McCauley’s strike also being the match winner in April.

Stripes boss Rodney McAree will be without the services of Lyndon Kane and Gareth McConaghie through injury. However there was a boost last week as James McLaughlin returned to the matchday panel after a hamstring knock. There will be a late fitness test given to winger Josh Carson who has missed the last two games.

Having sampled a previous derby clash, McAree insists he is excited ahead of tomorrow night’s fixture.

“I went to one of the derbies last year at Ballymena and it’s probably a different atmosphere to the one we had against Linfield,” he said.

“It’s a derby and everyone looks forward to them no matter what club you’re at.

“I’ll look forward to Tuesday night and hopefully we can get all three points.”

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 valid matchday cards/season tickets only.

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