Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders return to haunt Curtis Allen

By Graham Luney

Curtis Allen is sick of the sight of Crusaders but he insists Coleraine are fully focused on nailing down a European place.

The Crues dumped Oran Kearney’s side out of the Irish Cup last weekend at the quarter-final stage, with memories of that painful IRN-BRU Cup final defeat still fresh in the minds of those in the north-west.

Real damage has been done to the Bannsiders’ pride but the sides renew hostilities at the Showgrounds in the league today, offering the hosts a quick opportunity to salvage some pride.

Despite their cup heartbreak, this season has seen remarkable progress at Coleraine with the club that finished seventh in the last campaign now sitting fourth, only three points behind third-placed Cliftonville.

If only Coleraine could break their Crusaders hoodoo, there would be a lot more smiles around the Showgrounds.

“It’s always disappointing to lose a cup final and then a quarter-final but we can’t put that right now,” said Allen.

“It’s all about looking to the future and securing a European place. For this club to be challenging for that is a great achievement and I think that’s progress.

“We are challenging at the right end of the table and the league is always a measure of how well a team has done. We’ll soon be playing against all the top teams after the split and that’s what everyone wanted at the start of the season.

“We are only six points off second spot so we want to finish strongly. I think Linfield will win the league but the other European places are up for grabs.”

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