Cliftonville next up for Bannsiders

Solitude visit heralds start of busy couple of weeks for in-form Bannsiders

Cliftonville next up for Bannsiders

Coleraine were held to a 1-1 draw at Glenavon during the week.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

sport@thechronicle.uk.com

COLERAINE will look to steal a march on title rivals Linfield when they visit Solitude this Saturday.

The Bannsiders are in action against Cliftonville at the normal kick-off time of 3pm while the Blues don't kick off their game at Portadown until 5.30pm.

That means that, potentially, for a couple of hours at least, Oran Kearney's side could cut the gap on the league leaders to four points with a game in hand.

It's an intriguing subplot to another exciting afternoon in the Danske Bank Premiership, one of the best leagues in Europe according to former Coleraine and Cliftonville defender Gerry Flynn.

Coleraine go into this game unbeaten in 17 but they had to come from behind to preserve that impressive record at Glenavon on Tuesday night.

A Stephen Lowry volley cancelled out Matt Fitzpatrick's opener for the home side and they could have won it in the dying stages with Ian Parkhill and James McLaughlin passing up good opportunities to net a winner.

However, the grandstand finish from the away side can't take away from a lacklustre opening hour, with the manager calling for better against the Reds.

"The performance from us against Crusaders was where we need to be at," admitted the Ballymoney man.

"If you watched our game against Carrick on Saturday it wasn't at that level and the first half tonight we're not at that level.

"Our concerns are that of ensuring we get back to 90 minute performances of where the bar has been set by that Crusaders performance.

"That's my biggest concern to be honest," he added.

And the Ballycastle based schoolteacher played down title talk with so many difficult games still to play.

"It's not even in the conversation and it's not something we speak about in the changing room," he conceded.

"For us, it's a matter of trying to eke what we can out of every game.

"Credit to the boys against Glenavon – they hung in there and showed a bit of character to get back in the game.

"Cliftonville are sitting with their feet up while we're going into the game on the back of tonight.

"But we're all met with that. We've had fixtures this season where we've come off the back of a rest and that's just the nature of the way fixtures have been set up.

"We all have to deal with it and it's about making sure you recover right."

Saturday fixtures: Glenavon v Larne, Ballymena Utd v Dungannon Swifts, Glentoran v Crusaders, Carrick Rangers v Warrenpoint Town, Cliftonville v Coleraine; Portadown v Linfield (5.30pm)

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