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Match Preview

Windsor Way

COLERAINE travel to Windsor Park tomorrow afternoon in a clash between last season’s top two sides (KO 3pm)…

Danske Bank Premiership

Overview:

Coleraine made it three successive victories in all competitions in midweek as they started the defence of their League Cup trophy with a 5-0 win at Bangor. A hat-trick from Cathair Friel, a stunning strike from Conor McKendry and Evan Tweed’s close range finish saw the Bannsiders book a future date with Carrick Rangers in the next round. Oran Kearney’s side have also won their last two league games after successes against Carrick and Dungannon Swifts.

Linfield have made a perfect start to the new season after winning their opening two Danske Bank Premiership fixtures against Crusaders and Portadown. The Blues also progressed in the League Cup on Tuesday night with a 4-0 win at Ballyclare Comrades. David Healy was busy adding to his squad in the summer transfer window as Jack Ruddy, Sam Roscoe, Andrew Clarke, Martin Donnelly, Ahmed Salam, Billy Chadwick, Chris Shields and Matt Green all made the switch to Windsor Park.

Previous meetings:

The two clubs met on four occasions last season, with Linfield registering two wins and the other two games ending in a draw.

The first was back in November as Linfield banked all three points from their visit to The Showgrounds. A goal in the first-half from Andy Waterworth had the Blues in control, before Jordan Stewart added a second after the break.

In February, it would be prove to be a cagey affair at Windsor Park. In truth, the game only sparked into life in the second-half as Shayne Lavery headed wide from Jordan Stewart’s cross, with Eoin Bradley missing at the other end from close range as the match finished goalless.

In April, two first-half goals from Jordan Stewart would give Linfield a healthy advantage at Windsor Park. However, the game would change on its head as Niall Quinn was dismissed for a second bookable offence. The visitors made a game of it as Curtis Allen halved the deficit but the Bannsiders would also end the game with ten men as Aaron Canning was sent-off for bringing down Christy Manzinga.

The final clash was at The Showgrounds back in May with Coleraine needing to collect all three points to take the fight for the Gibson Cup down to the final day. However, Linfield had different ideas as Mark Haughey headed home on 14 minutes but the Stripes responded through Curtis Allen’s header. Despite Coleraine having plenty of territorial advantage, they could not find an elusive third goal of the evening as Linfield celebrated their 55th league title.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“It’s been a great last few weeks for us,” Kearney said.

“The main thing has been the clean sheets and putting the ball in at the other end, so long may it last.

“We have been able to keep the squad ticking over with the North-West Cup and League Cup games, so if we pick up and ache or pain, or if someone is needed, we are raring to go.”

Officials:

The match referee will be Shane Andrews.

The assistant referees are Jamie Carnduff and Ken Ross.

Andrew Davey has been allocated as the fourth official.

Admission:

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

The Club has been informed that there will be no catering facilities for away supporters at Windsor Park.

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).