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Match Preview

OK aware of Crues’ quality

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney admits he hasn’t been surprised by Crusaders’ recent good form as the two sides meet this evening (KO 7:45pm)…

Danske Bank Premiership

Overview:

Coleraine made a winning return to The Showgrounds last weekend as goals from Matthew Shevlin, Eoin Bradley and Cathair Friel sealed a 3-0 win against Ballymena United. Oran Kearney’s side currently occupy 5th spot in the table after last weekend’s round of fixtures. The Bannsiders have a busy month of fixtures as they also face Glenavon (H), Carrick Rangers (A), Glentoran (A) Warrenpoint Town (H) and Portadown (H).

Crusaders have made a steady start to the season after losing their opening game of the season to Linfield. The Crues have beat Larne and Glentoran in recent weeks, as well as progressing through to the third round of the BetMcLean League Cup. Stephen Baxter was busy in the summer transfer window as Johnny Black, Josh Robinson, Brandon Doyle, Jonny Frazer, Lewis Patterson and Johnny McMurray all made the move to Seaview.

Previous meetings:

The two clubs met on five occasions last season in all competitions – Coleraine winning three, losing one and other ending in a draw.

The first was at Seaview in November and as the game looked destined to end in a draw, the hosts would bag all three points as Jordan Owens headed in from a Jordan Forsythe cross.

The next contest was at The Showgrounds at the end of the January and Crusaders took an early lead through a smart finish from Jamie McGonigle. However, Coleraine responded and levelled before the break as Curtis Allen was on hand to fire home from Lyndon Kane’s cut back. There would be late drama as Coleraine found a winner in the dying minutes as Stephen Lowry headed in from Jamie Glackin’s set-piece.

In February, the two teams would meet on the Ballycastle Road and it would be Coleraine who would record another three points. In a first-half that lacked any real creativity, the Bannsiders would hit the front just before the break as Matthew Shevlin headed in his first goal in Coleraine colours, before Aaron Jarvis rifled home a second after the break.

At the end of last April, the Stripes had home advantage in the first round of the Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup. The match looked destined to go to penalties until the breakthrough was made with less than ten minutes remaining as Paul Heatley’s wonder strike put Crusaders through.

Finally, in May, Coleraine knew they needed to pocket all three points to keep the pressure on leaders Linfield. After a goalless first-half, Coleraine would hit the front as two substitutes combined as Curtis Allen’s cross was headed into the back of the net by James McLaughlin on 64 minutes.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“Crusaders have had two big results on the bounce,” Kearney said.

“I don’t think we have ever gone to Seaview and had it easy, so I’m not expecting anything else.

“They are probably the form team in the league at the minute, they have strung together two or three big results and people were disrespectfully thinking that they didn’t have in them.

“However, you look at their squad, and they are right up there with one of the best in the league.

Officials:

The match referee will be Tony Clarke.

The assistant referees are Jamie Carnduff and Gavin Hegarty.

Niall Gallagher has been allocated as the fourth official.

Admission:

Coleraine supporters will require tickets for the fixture which can be bought online HERE.

Supporters are advised that the fixture will be shown live on Sky Sports.

If you are not feeling yourself this evening and you have symptoms which you feel are similar to COVID-19, please stay away from the stadium and think of others.

If you have access to a lateral flow/PCR test at home, we would encourage you to check yourself before coming to the game.

If you have been in contact with a positive case and haven’t yet been contacted by track and trace, please do not come to the game.

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