Coleraine may have put Linfield to the sword on Tuesday night but their flying winger Stephen Carson still believes the Blues are the team likely to capture the Gibson Cup.
The Carling Premiership title race has turned into a fascinating open sprint and the Bannsiders are threatening to smash into the top four.
Northern Ireland international Carson and his team-mates will fight to the death and no doubt keep embarrassing the big guns.
David Platt’s side went to Windsor with a point to prove after being outclassed by the Blues at the Showgrounds and it was mission accomplished in emphatic fashion as the visitors triumphed 4-2.
However, Carson still feels that Linfield could have the last laugh in the title race.
“I think Linfield have the biggest squad and are the strongest team in the league,” he said. “They are very much the team to beat and if any side finishes above Linfield they should be champions.
“They have had more money than their rivals and been able to assemble a strong squad. While the other top four teams are quality sides who have done very well, the Big Two usually lead from the front and it’s up to us to catch them.
“This is an exciting challenge for us as we aren’t used to competing at the top of the table but we felt we did not perform against Linfield at the Showgrounds and this week we wanted to show people what Coleraine are really capable of.
“We are a dangerous counter-attacking side and myself and Stephen Dooley were able to get down the flanks while Rory (Patterson) was strong, aggressive and as clinical as usual.”
Coleraine visit Newry City tomorrow knowing that any of the top six sides who can finish the season with a superb winning run can grasp the Gibson Cup. And the good news for Carson and co. is that hotshot Patterson is fully focused on his goalscoring exploits now his future has been resolved.
The Bannsiders are in the final of the Co-operative Insurance Cup and hoping to finish the campaign with a flourish — and there is every chance of them serving up more heroics with Patterson leading the attack.
“Rory’s the best striker in the Irish League and hopefully he does get some international recognition,” added Carson as Nigel Worthington prepares to name his squad on Monday for the friendly in Albania.
“The Coleraine fans are now fully behind him and the players are behind him. It’s disappointing he is leaving for Glentoran but we respect the decision he has made.
“We just want him to keep scoring goals for Coleraine and I feel he deserves a Northern Ireland call-up. He is strong and has great awareness, as well as being a natural goalscorer. Hopefully I can keep creating chances for him.”