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We're on revenge mission against Ballymena: Kee

By Graham Luney

Coleraine skipper David Kee says his boys owe Ballymena United a painful blow.

The derby rivals played out a 2-2 draw at the Coleraine Showgrounds in October but it was the Northern Ireland League Cup semi-final loss to the Braidmen that really rattled boss Oran Kearney and his men.

United hit three extra-time goals at the Ballymena Showgrounds to book a place in the final and the rest is glorious history as David Jeffrey's side went on to clinch the prize.

That semi-final loss was a real body blow to the Bannsiders and it left a sour taste in the mouth but the Tennent's Irish Cup quarter-final draw has served up an opportunity for sweet revenge.

And Coleraine are seemingly a different animal as a nine-game unbeaten run, including eight straight victories, suggests they have found greater resilience and steel in their ranks.

The stage is set for another feisty affair on Warden Street and midfielder Kee can't wait for battle to commence.

"We do owe Ballymena United one, big time," said Kee, who is on loan at Coleraine from Linfield. "That League Cup game went to extra-time but the 3-0 result looked like a bit of a hammering.

"Hopefully they will have a hangover from their League Cup success and we can take advantage of that. In these big derby matches in the Cup anything can happen. We will bring a good crowd to the game and we certainly owe them one.

"I know we are the away side and it's a tough game but my attitude is if you want to win the trophy you have to win games such as this one. It could have been worse as a game at Linfield or Crusaders would have been even more difficult."

It's been quite a transformation of fortunes for Coleraine since their dark December and what makes this derby scrap even more appealing is the form of both sides, with United still basking in the glory of their League Cup triumph.

"We had a really tough December when we didn't win a match but although we didn't get the result we wanted against Cliftonville, the eight wins in a row was an incredible run," added Kee.

"We enjoyed a great start to the season but had an awful December. Oran (Kearney) set us a target of 30 points from 19 matches in the second half of the season and the boys just knuckled down and worked hard.

"I know Oran has his critics but he's been brilliant, particularly in bringing young players through. The lads, despite being so young, have a lot of experience and they have developed fast."

• Ards full-back Greg Hall has signed a new contract with the Danske Bank Premiership club. The 27-year-old penned a fresh deal that will keep him at the club until at least 2018.

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