Belfast Telegraph

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I would love to lift trophy at Coleraine, says Dooley


By Jonathan McNabb

Coleraine winger Stephen Dooley admits winning a trophy with his hometown club would be the icing on the cake as Oran Kearney's men chase an historic league and cup double.

The 26-year-old joined the Bannsiders in January after a successful period at League of Ireland champions Cork City and the Portstewart man would love to add to his medal collection.

"I loved my time at Cork and the achievements of last season were arguably my best in football," Dooley said.

"However, having been involved with the local set-up here, playing for the reserves and making the breakthrough into the first-team, winning a trophy would be that little bit more special.

"I'm a local player and I'm eager to contribute to some success here in our last three games."

Dooley and his Coleraine team-mates make the trip to Windsor Park this afternoon and the former Derry City man is expecting a tough encounter.

"Going to Windsor Park is never easy and although they haven't had the season they might have wanted, they are still the champions," Dooley said.

"They will also want to finish third to potentially get into Europe, so we know full well how difficult this game is going to be.

"We will take confidence from our last two results. The first half against Cliftonville we were poor, but we fought back in the second. Against Ballymena we didn't hit the heights that we have done, but again we dug out an important win.

"We will need a favour elsewhere, but it's vitally important that we focus on our jobs."

Since arriving for a third spell at The Showgrounds, Dooley has had a frustrating time out through injury, but admits he is eager to make up for lost time.

"I've worked really hard to get fit and the injury lasted longer than I expected," Dooley added.

"I thought I was only going to be out for a few weeks, but that turned into two months.

"It was frustrating as I felt good whenever I signed. There's nothing I can do and my aim now is to make sure I play my part in our final three games."

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney added that today's game is a must-win if they are to overhaul Crusaders at the top of the table.

Linfield are the only side to defeat Coleraine this season, a 2-1 win at the same venue in November.

"It's a game we have to win, it's as simple as that and I think the way we have conducted ourselves has been outstanding all season," Kearney said.

"Linfield will be a tough challenge and the fact we have to go to the National Stadium will only add to the occasion."

Josh Carson misses out for the Bannsiders today due to suspension, while Brad Lyons remains a doubt with a hamstring injury.

Linfield vs Coleraine

Danske Bank Premiership

Windsor Park, Today, 3pm

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