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Stripes hoping to Carri on their good form

COLERAINE will hope to keep up their good run of form as they travel to Carrick Rangers in the Danske Bank Premiership (KO 3pm)…

The Stripes stretched their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership to six points last weekend after a 1-1 draw against Crusaders at The Showgrounds. After defeating Ards the previous Tuesday, it was the perfect response from the defeat to Linfield.

Coleraine were victorious in the previous meeting between the two sides this season. A first-half strike from David Ogilby, added to a brace from Darren McCauley after the break sealed all three points on the Ballycastle Road. However, the Bannsiders will want a better result  and performance from their last trip to the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena as they suffered a 2-0 defeat in November 2016.

Oran Kearney will be without the services of Lyndon Kane, Eoin Bradley and James McLaughlin through injury. Furthermore, defender Stephen O’Donnell must sit out after accumulating five yellow cards. The Bannsiders received a boost last weekend with the return of Brad Lyons from injury and his comeback will be vital for the busy festive fixtures ahead.

Coleraine face five of the bottom six teams in December, but boss Kearney acknowledges those sides have given his team the toughest challenges so far this season.

“We won’t be approaching the next few games any different from the way we have approached the previous games,” Kearney said.

“The next big cup final is against Carrick tomorrow afternoon.

“The only good thing with the injuries we have is that over the next few weeks we’re only playing one game a week, which will be nice to freshen the bodies and the minds up again.

“We have had plenty of trouble from those teams in recent years, and this season we have had tough games against Carrick, Ballinamallard and Warrenpoint at home.

“I’ve been here seven years and there has never been a side who have rolled over for us and let us take all three points.

“This weekend will be no different, we know it will be tough, and that’s all we’re focusing on at the minute.”

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