Belfast Telegraph

I'm determined to win trophies with Coleraine after Crusaders bid rejected: McGonigle


Showdown time: Jamie McGonigle
Showdown time: Jamie McGonigle
Brad Lyons

By Steve Jones

Coleraine striker Jamie McGonigle believes tonight's showdown with Crusaders could help the Bannsiders return to top form after back-to-back stalemates in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Oran Kearney's men drew 2-2 with Glentoran two weeks ago, before repeating that scoreline against newly promoted Institute last time out.

The Irish Cup holders remain unbeaten in their last 32 domestic games and know that a victory this evening will see them move joint top of the table.

Despite not being at their free-flowing best of last season, the striker admits the Bannsiders camp are content with their start to the new campaign.

"It is a big game as we both fought for the title last season," McGonigle said. "The games between us were often tight and ended in draws, so who knows if it will be different this time around.

"Our performance levels weren't great against Glentoran and Institute recently, but we still managed to get points on the table.

"It shows how far we have come when you're disappointed to draw two games in a row but that comes with the territory after our form last season. There was no panic in the changing room as there is a long way to go."

The match will be the first time that the Bannsiders have appeared on Sky Sports since 2013 but the Dungiven man insists the live coverage will have no bearing on the game.

"It is great exposure for the league, but we're solely concentrated on getting three points," added the 22-year-old.

"The crowd we took up to Seaview last season lives long in the memory and I know the club have sold their entire allocation for tonight.

"It makes for a great game and hopefully we can put in a good performance.

"It's great for our supporters who can't make the game to tune in and it would be great to reward them."

McGonigle - who recently netted his 50th goal in Coleraine colours - was the subject of a rejected bid by Crusaders last month.

The Northern Ireland under-21 international admits the interest didn't turn his head as he is enjoying life on the Ballycastle Road.

"All I know is that Coleraine rejected the offer and that was that," he continued.

"I'm just worried about my performances on the pitch and ensuring we get the win on a Saturday.

"It's always nice to know that clubs are interested in you, but I'm happy at Coleraine and I want to try and win more trophies here."

The Stripes suffered a blow on transfer deadline day as Brad Lyons made a move to English Championship side Blackburn Rovers after impressing on a recent trial.

McGonigle, who is also close friends with ex-Crusaders hot shot Gavin Whyte, admits he would love to follow their path into full-time football.

"It's every boy's dream to be a professional footballer and I'd be lying if I said different," McGonigle concluded.

"It's great for Brad to get the move as he's a superb midfielder and I wish him the best of luck at Blackburn.

"Gavin has hit the ground running at Oxford and got a call-up to the Northern Ireland squad, so I'm delighted for him.

"It shows that the Irish League is developing quality players, and long may that continue."

It is expected that the game will come too soon for recent signing Aaron Canning who re-joined the club last week for a second spell, with Lyndon Kane and James McLaughlin also ruled out through injury.

Belfast Telegraph


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