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Match Preview

OK calls for ruthless side

COLERAINE return to Danske Bank Premiership duty tomorrow as they make the journey to Shamrock Park (KO 3pm)

Danske Bank Premiership

Overview:

Coleraine reached the second round of the Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup last weekend as they sealed a 6-0 win against Windmill Stars at The Showgrounds. The Bannsiders would lead 3-0 at the break through strikes from Jamie Glackin, Curtis Allen and Matthew Shevlin, with Patrick Kelly, Aaron Jarvis and James McLaughlin netting in the second-half. Oran Kearney’s men are winless in their last six Premiership fixtures and sit seventh in the standings.

Portadown were also victorious in the Irish Cup as they netted twice after the interval to see off the challenge of Limavady United and set-up a date with Coleraine in early February. The Ports have lost their two last Premiership games but will take confidence from two recent home draws against Larne and Cliftonville. Matthew Tipton’s side have lost the services of striker Lee Bonis but have added Howard Beverland (Ballyclare Comrades), Josh Doherty (unattached), Jamal Dupree (Waterford), Matthew Lusty (Larne – loan) and Jack Smith (Derriaghy CC) to their squad.

Previous meetings:

The two clubs squared off at the end of October at The Showgrounds. After both teams would spurn half chances, the deadlock was broken on 28 minutes as Matthew Shevlin picked up possession after cleverly beating the offside trap. The striker ran into the box, and after he tried to deliver a cross to the unmarked Cathair Friel, the ball was diverted into his own net by Paul Finnegan. As Coleraine looked for that crucial second goal they would be once again left frustrated as Jamie Glackin’s shot went over the crossbar as the Ports seized momentum with Stephen Teggart heading over from Oisin Conaty’s cross and Lee Bonis’ could only turn the ball over after meeting a Teggart cross. The three points would be secure in added time as Coleraine caught the visitors on the counter attack which allowed McKendry to unselfishly square the ball to Shevlin who made no mistake from inside the area.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“Our performances in December were good bar the Crusaders game where we weren’t at the races,” Kearney said.

“Apart from that, I can’t ask for much more from the players bar putting the ball into the back of the net.

“We did it against Warrenpoint in the League Cup, we did it against Windmill Stars in the Irish Cup but we didn’t do it on Boxing Day and a few other games.

“We need to hit the same levels again but we need to carry that ruthless side on.

“Our league form and our league results in the last few weeks haven’t been where we want them to be.

“We’ve had that break now, we’re back in a New Year and we wanted to start it in the right way and we have.

“It’s important we carry that on this weekend.”

Officials:

The match referee will be Shane McGonigle.

The assistant referees are Paul Robinson and George Argyropoulos.

Lee Tavinder has been selected as the fourth official.

Admission:

Coleraine supporters will require tickets for the fixture which can be purchased

If you are not feeling yourself tomorrow afternoon 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).