Skipper Coates rallies Crues to build on their impressive derby day record
Crusaders skipper Colin Coates admits there's nothing quite like a North Belfast derby!
It's a game that gets the adrenalin pumping and, with both teams coming off the back of impressive league wins, something must give in tonight's Toals County Antrim Shield quarter-final tie at Solitude.
Memories of last season's defeat by Linfield still hover over the Shore Road club. Even though it is arguably the least important of the four domestic trophies, Coates stresses the Crues are in it to win it!
"It's one we all reslish," he said. "When we face Cliftonville, they are always big games. It's a North Belfast derby, we'll be going up there to win it. There is a semi-final place up for grabs. We have a good record against the Reds at the minute.
"We haven't lost since their glory years, something like three years. I think it was the Boyce/Gormley era. It's important to keep the run going."
It will be the Crues third game in seven days, so Coates expected manager Stephen Baxter to utilise the squad and make a few changes to the team that defeated Ballinamallard United on Friday night.
"The manager may reshuffle the pack a wee bit," he added.
"Given we had a tough week with games against Linfield and then Ballinamallard over a four day period, I think there'll be a few changes.
"Some of the guys haven't played a lot of football, so the boss might use this tie to give them a bit of game time.
The Crues have bounced back off the ropes after three disappointing league results - drawing with Ards and Dungannon and losing to Glenavon.
"Over the course of the season, you have one or two little periods that results don't go for you - hopefully, we've now had ours," he added.
Cliftonville vs Crusaders
Toals County Antrim Shield Quarter-Final:
Solitude, Tonight, 7.45pm