Sports

‘We’re happy to be the underdogs’

Thursday, 15 December 2016

‘We’re happy to be the underdogs’ thumbnailColeraine striker James McLaughlin, seen here shielding the ball from Glenavon defender Caolan Marron on Saturday, has enjoyed success against Ballymena Utd in the past and will be hoping to replicate some of that goalscoring form in Tuesday evening’s Le

COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney believes his players are as prepared as they can be for Tuesday evening's eagerly anticipated League Cup semi-final against Ballymena Utd - despite losing their last three league games. The Bannsiders have tasted defeat against Carrick Rangers, Cliftonville and Glenavon in successive weeks and have failed to score in either of those matches.
However, it's clear that the manager has been targeting this evening's game for some time and has shuffled his pack accordingly - again resting several key players in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Mourneview Park.
In contrast, tonight's opponents fielded a full strength side at the Oval on their way to coming from 2-0 down to defeat Glentoran 3-2 with a late winner from sub' Jonathan McMurray.
The Braid men are now six points clear of their derby rivals in the Danske Bank Premiership table and will start as favourites in front of what is expected to be a large crowd at the Warden Street Showgrounds.
“Semi-finals are special, full stop, but when you add in the derby element to it - it gives it that added spice," admitted Oran, still searching for his first trophy win as Coleraine manager.
“Some people would rather it was the final but I think when you get to the final stages of any competition the magnitude of the game becomes even bigger.
“We're in our 'worst' run of form of the season but the players are well versed in relation to where we're at and I don't think any run of form going into the game would have any massive difference.
“It's very hard to call and I don't think there'll be huge amount between the two sides which makes for a really interesting game.

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