Bannsiders set to host Ports on Tuesday night

Bannsiders set to host Ports on Tuesday night

Curtis Allen, all smiles as he made it four goals in his last two games for Coleraine.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

sport@thechronicle.uk.com

COLERAINE'S relentless round of fixtures continues this evening (Tuesday) when they host Portadown in yet another important Danske Bank Premiership game.

The sides met at the Showgrounds just over a month ago when a late Adam Salley goal earned the visitors a valuable point.

Coleraine would have regarded that game as two points dropped and will be keen to make amends this evening.

The Bannsiders go into the game in confident mood and on the back of a 12 game unbeaten run, stretching all the way back to early December.

They collected another valuable three points at the weekend, when a brace of goals from in-form striker Curtis Allen saw them past Warrenpoint Town 2-1.

The Ports, on the same afternoon, went down to a disappointing home defeat to Ballymena Utd and will look for an immediate response tonight.

With the spectre of relegation lifted from the clubs at the wrong end of the league table, there is an assumption that teams such as Warrenpoint and Portadown have a 'free hit' in games against higher ranked teams.

Certainly, there is less pressure on the likes of the Ports, who know their Premiership status is guaranteed, whatever their results.

That makes them difficult opponents for a Coleraine side keen to close the gap on the only team above them in the table - defending champions Linfield.

Five points currently separates the two teams but there is the potential for things to shift this evening.

Three points for Oran Kearney's side, coupled with the Blues dropping points against Glentoran, could make things very interesting indeed.

David Healy's men lost 1-0 to the Glens just seven days ago and will be wary of falling to a second defeat in a week against their fiercest rivals.

Mick McDermott and his players will no doubt be bullish going into this game having won their last three and quietly climbing the league table.

Elsewhere, there is another massive game in store at Inver Park where Larne host Crusaders.

Larne dropped a place to third following Coleraine's defeat of Warrenpoint on Saturday while Crusaders fared even worse, plummeting to fifth in the table.

Both teams lost at the weekend - Larne away at Linfield and the Crues, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, at home to Glenavon.

Three points are a must for both tonight.

Cliftonville, with three wins on the bounce, travel to Ballymena Utd, Glenavon host Carrick Rangers while Dungannon Swifts visit Warrenpoint are the remaining games.

Bannsiders' boss Oran Kearney will again look to utilise his squad with a trip to Dungannon Swifts to come on Saturday.

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