Causeway Chronicle

Coleraine bid to seal Top Six spot

It’s arguably Coleraine’s biggest game of the season on Saturday.

Victory over Dungannon Swifts at the Showgrounds will seal that all important Top Six berth.

Manager Oran Kearney will be well aware that the Swifts triumphed 3-2 on their last visit to Ballycastle Road just before Christmas.

But the Bannsiders are a much different proposition now.

The atmosphere that day wasn’t particularly pleasant, with the fans expressing their anger.

But a run of six games with just one defeat has quelled the discontent.

Key players have returned from injury and confidence is returning…on and off the pitch.

The travelling support showed their appreciation at the final whistle at Seaview on Saturday as ten man Coleraine held on for a deserved point against Crusaders.

Now one more big effort this week will set the club up for an exciting end to the season.

Crucially, it will present an opportunity to push for a lucrative European place.

Lyndon Kane, sent off against the Crues, will be absent.

Showgrounds chief Kearney knows exactly what is required on Saturday.

“A win clears it for us,” said Oran.

“Our agenda is to keep building performances and building on the month we’ve had.

“We talked about laying a foundation and then putting a few bricks onto it.”

And things have certainly been taking shape in recent weeks.

“We’ve done that the last couple of weeks.

“Saturday is the next opportunity to make sure we go and do that.”

And the Bannside boss isn’t entertaining thoughts of a draw which could see his team over the line because they possess a better goal difference than rivals Carrick Rangers.

“I don’t think I’ve ever gone out to try and draw a game so we’ll go out to try and win a game of football.”

A positive result and attention will then turn to some exciting end of season encounters.

“At this stage of the season you usually have players with 35/40 games under their belt.

“We have guys like Josh (Carson) on maybe 15 and Stevie O (Stevie O’Donnell) in single figures.

“With each week they are looking sharper and you hope they will be really fresh and really hungry when it comes round to the Play Off’s.”

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson