Kyle McVey has warned Glentoran and Linfield that Coleraine are ready to spring a few Christmas surprises in the coming days.
The Bannsiders host Glentoran this afternoon before visiting the Blues in the JJB Premiership next Saturday.
And the fixture list is not pretty reading for David Platt’s men as they will then resume Co-operative Insurance Cup hostilities with the Glens before tackling Cliftonville at Solitude.
It’s a run of matches that would send shivers down spines but McVey insists: “These are the games you want to play in”.
Glentoran had to come from behind to beat Coleraine 2-1 when the sides met at the Oval in the Premiership and the cup first leg clash this week finished 1-1 when Matty Crossan’s stunning equaliser cancelled out Michael Halliday’s header.
The east Belfast side’s title winning credentials will be under the microscope in the north-west and McVey says his side have nothing to fear.
“We played well against them this week and it is always a good result when you hold the Glens at the Oval,” said the former Northern Ireland Under-21 international. “It was certainly a better showing than our 4-0 defeat to Bangor and we owed the manager a vastly improved performance.
“You always have to battle against teams like Glentoran and even when we went 1-0 down our heads never dropped and we kept plugging away. On another day we could have won it as we created good chances and hopefully, with home advantage, we can beat them this time.
“Matty is always capable of scoring goals like that but Glentoran rested a few players like Gary Hamilton, Colin Nixon and Shane McCabe. But we are capable of beating Glentoran and Linfield if we play the way I know we can.”
Gary Hamilton’s introduction midway through the second half turned the league game in Glentoran's favour as they came from behind to beat the Bannsiders.
This afternoon he will be joined on the Showgrounds pitch by another forward-thinking player who oozes class.
Stephen Carson is in scintillating form and McVey is predicting a tough examination for the visiting defence.
“Stephen is one of the best players in the league and when he is in form he can destroy anyone,” added the 22-year-old.
“Gary (Hamilton) is another quality striker who is always dangerous but I enjoy playing against top players — it is how you improve as a footballer. I’ve played against Gary for four and a half years and I know I will have to keep my eye on him.
“Glentoran hope to challenge for the title but we are focused on what we have to do and if we can beat the Glens and Linfield next week then it would leave us in a very healthy position.
“We are capable of upsetting the big teams and Glenavon proved when they went to Windsor and won that self-belief can help you get a great result. Our goal is to finish in the top six. David (Platt) may even strengthen the squad in January.”