Preview of Saturday's game

Posted : 20th April 2017 at 23:56:38

The penultimate game of the Danske Bank NIFL Premiership season takes Linfield to the Showgrounds to face hosts Coleraine FC (3pm ko). In league fixtures between the clubs this season Coleraine have remained unbeaten winning once (1-0) at Windsor Park and drawing two other games home (1-1) and away (1-1).

Linfield maintained their long unbeaten run with an emphatic win (3-0) over visitors Glenavon in Tuesday night's game at Windsor Park. Three first half goals from Aaron Burns (pen), Mark Haughey and Paul Smyth sent the Blues into the interval break well in command of the game. In the second half Linfield again dominated possession but lacked a final cutting edge in front of the Glenavon goal. This was another comprensive performance from a Blues team who look equally focused and composed at this critical juncture in the race for the title.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney will be looking for his team to quickly bounce back after losing their long unbeaten run at Crusaders (3-2). The Bannsiders will be determinded to at least grab the one point they need to secure a lucrative place in next season's Europa League. Coleraine will however definitely be without the services of influential captain David Kee, who under the terms of his loan deal from Linfield, cannot play against his parent club.

The Showgrounds has proved to be someting of fortress for Coleraine who have recorded just one home defeat all season. A difficult game awaits Linfield who will need to be at their very best to take all three points back to Belfast. But the Blues are looking both solid at the back and lively up front having built up a significant goal difference (+57), which depending on how results go on Saturday, could well have a decisive part to play on the last day of the season. Another tense afternoon awaits the large numbers of Linfield supporters expected to pass through the Showgrounds turnstiles on Saturday.

Hopefully, their presence and vocal support can lift the players towards a result which will take the title race right up to the wire! COYB!

Ken Garrett.
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