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Injury crisis hits Quinn's final thinking

By Grant Cameron

Coleraine manager Marty Quinn reckons the club will have to extend the Showgrounds treatment room to accommodate his walking wounded.

He was left to count the cost of Saturday's 2-0 win over Armagh City, with Stephen Carson and Damien Whitehead getting the goals.

Quinn put on a brave face on things after assessing the mounting problems facing his squad ahead of the JJB Sports Irish Cup final showdown with Linfield on Saturday week.

"I reckon I have more than half my first-team injured right now and that's hardly what you need with such a big game coming up against the top team in the country," said Quinn.

"I'd say our physio Alan Millar is in for a busy time trying to get some of the guys back in action in time. Things are looking pretty bad right now, but we will survey the damage when we get to training on Tuesday."

Jody Tolan seems to be worst off after damaging ligaments in his left ankle. He was one of three players to pick up injuries against Armagh City in the 2-0 home win at the weekend.

Howard Beverland is also nursing an ankle sprain although Quinn suggests the right-back's chances of being fit for the final are better than Tolan's, while central defender Paddy McLaughlin has strained a hamstring.

The trio join defender Stewart Clanachan, Tommy McCallion and goalkeeper Davy O'Hare on the treatment table. O'Hare rested a calf injury on Saturday, Clanachan and McCallion are also battling hamstring pulls, while midfielder Darren Cassidy has already been ruled out with a broken ankle.

Meanwhile, John Neill has been handed a two-year contract. The 26-year-old midfielder landed a regular first team place in Quinn's side three years ago.

"Marty has stuck by me and given me so much encouragement," says the man who has converted from his favoured role in central defence to become a midfield star.

"I don't care where I play to be honest. I want nothing more than to pull on the shirt for my home team."

Quinn says: "He has done remarkably well in midfield because he was impressive in defence too before we moved him forward."

Saturday's defeat means Armagh City are one point ahead of basement club Limavady United in the table going into the final game this weekend.

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