Coleraine striker Eoin Bradley is expecting another thriller against Glentoran at the Showgrounds tonight.
Whatever it is about these sides whenever they have played in recent times, the games have almost always been entertaining, eventful and close with Oran Kearney’s men tending to have slightly the better of them.
Take this season, for example, with Coleraine winning 2-0 on their own patch against the Glens in the Bet McLean League Cup a few weeks after fighting back to draw 2-2 in a Danske Bank Premiership encounter at The Oval on a night best remembered for the altercation between home duo Aaron McCarey and Bobby Burns.
The campaign before, there were three draws in the league and one win for the Bannsiders.
With both sides on impressive unbeaten runs at present, it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top with the Glens now second in the table after four successive victories in the league and Coleraine, in fourth, one point behind.
Goals are expected when you look at the attacking players on show. For the visitors, the likes of Robbie McDaid, Jay Donnelly, Shay McCartan and Conor McMenamin can step up while Coleraine can look to Matthew Shevlin, Conor McKendry, Jamie Glackin and new kid on the block Patrick Kelly to cause problems for the opposing defence.
The home side also have Bradley, one of the most influential, inspiring and important figures in Kearney’s two successful spells in charge at the Showgrounds.
Bradley has led the line brilliantly for years, scoring huge goals for Coleraine and, having come off the bench to hit the bar in Saturday’s goalless draw at home to league leaders Cliftonville, he’d love a shot at the Glens this evening in what he believes will be a cracking contest.
“Like us, Glentoran have been in good form so we know it will be a tough game,” says Bradley.
“When we play each other, it is usually a very good game. There is always excitement and something happening. I think it will be end to end but we are at home and will have belief going into it and hopefully can come out with all three points.”
When Coleraine switched from grass to a synthetic surface at the Showgrounds, there was debate about whether the new pitch would have a detrimental impact on the club’s previous fine home form. That has not been the case with Kearney’s team shining in their own stadium.
“I was a little bit sceptical at the start but I enjoy playing on it now and so do the rest of the lads and we seem to be playing good football on it,” says Bradley.
“I haven’t started over the last three or four weeks. I got married and was on holiday and the boys that came in have been doing well since so I didn’t expect to get back in but I came on in the match on Saturday and did well and will be ready if called upon.
“We have good forward players at the club and still have James McLaughlin to come back.
“It’s great to have plenty of options and it is important that at this stage of the season we keep producing and stay in and about the top because if you don’t deliver good performances in this league, you can easily lose points.”