David Platt has experienced losing one cup final in the last week and he’s not in the mood to accept defeat in another winner-takes-all battle tonight.
His Coleraine side go head-to-head with Portadown at the Showgrounds and only a victory will be good enough to secure a place in the top six as the Carling Premiership splits for the final five games.
And Platt claims that it’s vital for the future of his young side that they are mixing it with the title chasers between now and the end of the season.
“We have six league games left and an Irish Cup quarter-final,” said Platt, who suffered the agony of seeing his team lose a penalty shoot-out to Glentoran in Saturday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup final.
“We want to make sure that we have more games than that by winning the Irish Cup game and in the last five league games we want to be in a position where we can have a say in the destiny of the league title.
“We made the top six last season and the games against the teams battling it out for the league were a great experience for my young players.
“I want them to have the same kind of experience this season by going up against the top teams and playing in a quarter-final and semi-final of the Irish Cup at least.”
Amazingly, the Bannsiders could miss out on the top six, despite collecting more points at this stage than they had 12 months ago.
“We made the split with 47 points last season. We have 48 now and are still not guaranteed,” said Platt.
Portadown are two points ahead of Coleraine at present and a draw this evening would be enough for them to pip the Bannsiders to a place in the top six, while Coleraine need a victory to make it.
FIXTURES: (all 7.45pm) JJB Sports Irish Cup round six replay: Newry City v Loughgall; Carling Premiership: Lisburn Distillery v Ballymena United, Coleraine v Portadown.