Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 5 March 2015

McDonnell is plotting Bannsiders’ downfall

John McDonnell is confident his men will be fired up to bring Coleraine down to earth with a thud today.

The Bannsiders are on cloud nine after conquering Linfield 4-2 at Windsor Park in midweek and they have even been dubbed dark horses for the Carling Premiership title.

However, although City have struggled to find any consistency this season they have managed to raise their game against tough opponents.

The border boys beat Glentoran 1-0 at the Oval and Cliftonville were held 1-1 at the Showgrounds earlier this month.

“This is a big game for us and we have another one against Institute on Tuesday, but the players have been able to lift their game for these occasions,” said McDonnell.

“The Glentoran and Cliftonville results showed what we are capable of and we need to get back to that level of performance.

“The players’ concentration levels are pretty high when faced with a tough battle.

“We have struggled to be consistent and it is something we have to change.

“Coleraine had a great result against Linfield and recently there have been some strange results in midweek, but in the league you are up one minute and down the next.

“But there is no doubt that Coleraine are flying at the minute and it will be a difficult game for us.”

The Bannsiders will arrive at the Showgrounds with their goal machine Rory Patterson who scored in the 3-0 win over City in the north-west at the end of November.

Patterson has scored a phenomenal 31 goals this season and the City defence will be braced for a busy afternoon.

McDonnell is also wary of the threat posed by Coleraine’s new signing Sammy Morrow — assuming the former Derry City striker is fit after picking up a knock against the Blues.

“Rory is flying, without a doubt and scoring goals for fun, but young Morrow, who played for Derry City, is another forward who gives them a big attacking threat,” added McDonnell.

“Coleraine are pushing for a top four place, but you can’t look too far in the league and make predictions about how teams will do.

“We are focused on what we need to do and though it is a big ask to beat Coleraine we have to get back to winning games.”

Newry have injuries to Darren King and Gavin McDonnell and both will undergo late checks before any decision is made.

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