Coates suffers a final blow
Crusaders defender Colin Coates has been ruled out of next month's CIS Insurance Cup final against Linfield.
Coates has been hit with a two-match suspensions by the Irish FA's disciplinary committee on top of a one-game automatic ban following his sending-off against Institute two weeks ago.
The tough tackling youngster will serve that automatic ban today when the Crues host Coleraine and he won't now return until after the cup final clash with the Blues on December 8.
Coates' season has been disrupted by injury and the three match suspension is the last thing that he wanted just when he has returned to fitness.
Another man who will definitely miss the CIS decider is former Linfield defender Andrew Hunter.
He is currently fighting his way back to fitness after suffering knee cartilage damage in the County Antrim Shield semi-final victory over Ballymena United and the final will come around too soon for him to take part.
"I am working on my rehabilitation and things are going quite well so far," said Hunter.
"It will be Christmas or early January before I am back though, so the cup final is a write-off for me.
" Obviously as a former Linfield player I would have loved to play in the final against them, but it is more important that I get back to full fitness for the second-half of the season than making it back for just one game."
Coates isn't the only Crusaders player hit with suspension. Chris Morrow and Eamon Doherty have both accumulated five yellow cards this season.
Along with Coates they will miss next Saturday's league visit to Newry City, but will be available for the cup final.