Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville boss Lyttle eager to end Coleraine's fine unbeaten streak

By Alex Mills

Gerard Lyttle got up close and personal with Coleraine last weekend - and he was suitably impressed. The Cliftonville boss made the trip to Ballymena to take in the Bannsiders' Irish Cup victory over Glenavon and his verdict is that his boys will need to be at their best if they are to glean any satisfaction at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds tomorrow.

Oran Kearney's team are simply untouchable at the minute having gone 15 games unbeaten.

They have rocketed to third place in the Danske Bank Premiership table - and have a day out in next month's showcase Irish Cup final against Linfield to look forward to.

"They are the league's form team, there is no doubt," said Lyttle. "I watched them last week and, to be honest, I didn't learn anything I didn't already know.

"Oran opted for youth rather than experience in the centre of the pitch, with Brad Lyons and Ciaron Harkin preferred to Neil McCafferty and Davy Kee.

"They are all walking on air, they have had some fantastic results, but their run has to come to an end sometime. Hopefully it will be this weekend."

With a lucrative European place up for grabs for the team that finishes in third place, Lyttle said: "The games are all massive now. There is nothing easy in this league. But there is no point in looking too far down the line because you can lose focus. We'll be concentrating on the Coleraine match, nothing else.

"We are starting to look like ourselves again; the confidence is beginning to flow again."

Lyttle is boosted by the return from suspension of central defensive duo Jason McGuinness and Jamie McGovern, but Daniel Hughes and Chris Ramsey again miss out.

With the European door still very much ajar, Lyttle added: "We need to nail down third place. Failing that we still have the Euro play-offs at the end of the season. Again, you can't afford to take your eye off the ball.

"We don't want to be relying on favours - the only way to do that is to win our games."

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