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Match Preview

Top Two

A meeting between the top two in the Danske Bank Premiership beckons as Coleraine host Cliftonville tomorrow afternoon (KO 3pm)…

Danske Bank Premiership

Overview:

Coleraine moved up to second in the Premiership standings last weekend as goals from Jamie Glackin, Conor McKendry and Lyndon Kane powered the Bannsiders to a 3-1 home win against Larne. A bumper crowd of 3509 people enjoyed the proceedings on the Ballycastle Road as Glackin and McKendry struck in the first half – either side of Ben Doherty’s equaliser – before Kane’s first goal since February sealed the deal for Oran Kearney’s men.

Cliftonville suffered only their second defeat of the season last weekend as they were edged out by Linfield courtesy of Jordan Stewart’s header early in the second-half. Paddy McLaughlin’s side still sit proudly at the top of the table and have a BetMcLean League Cup semi-final date against Ballymena United on the horizon, as well as a final four date against Linfield in the County Antrim Shield.

Previous meetings:

The two sides met back in August at Solitude as the Bannsiders looked to bounce back from an opening day defeat to Larne. After a goalless first-half, Coleraine almost carved out the opener as Eoin Bradley and Matthew Shevlin went close. However, the deadlock would be broken at the other end as Joe Gormley latched onto Jamie McDonagh’s superb delivery, before the win was secured two minutes later as Stephen O’Donnell scored an unfortunate own goal. The Stripes did manage to pull a goal back through Aaron Traynor but left North Belfast empty handed.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“It wouldn’t have been ideal for us going into Saturday’s game if we had had a midweek game especially if Cliftonville only had a two-game week,” Kearney said after the Unite the Union Champions’ Cup tie against Linfield was postponed.

“So it won’t do us any harm not having a game during the week.

“I’m more than happy to play in the competition and we would have fielded strong in it to get to the final.

“The decision to postpone the games is understandable and I have no issues with it.

“We are only focusing on the next game against Cliftonville and go and try and get a similar level of performance to do the same again.

“The young lads who come out with the drum do not comprehend or have a concept of the impact they have on a match day for us, and the importance they have on a match day for us.

“Not only do they shout and sing but it seems to encourage everyone around them too.

“You cannot underestimate what that does to the players.

“People talk about the 12th man and everything else but it is so important and makes such a difference to our lads.

“So we are indebted to those lads again because the noise was brilliant.”

Officials:

The match referee will be Ian McNabb.

The assistant referees are Stephen Donaldson and Gavin Hegarty.

Steven Gregg has been allocated as the fourth official.

Sponsors:

The match sponsor is Adams Transport.

Chequers, Causeway Flooring Specialists, William Huey & Colin Quinn and Abbie McAfee have kindly agreed to sponsor the match ball.

The mascots this afternoon will be Tyler, Lucas, Tom, Rowan, Noah and Zach and they will have the honour of leading out the team.

The Man of the Match award will be sponsored by Holley Optometrists.

Admission:

Season tickets are valid for the fixture, although, non-season ticket holders will require matchday tickets for the fixture which can be bought online HERE.

Cliftonville fans will also need tickets to enter the stadium which can be purchased HERE.

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).