Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Johns tips Bannsiders to soar


By Billy Weir

The safe hands behind Coleraine's fantastic start to the season has a warning for those predicting the wheels are about to come off the Bannside bandwagon - they haven't got out of third gear yet.

Former Southampton trainee Chris Johns has been in superb form during their amazing start to the Danske Bank Premiership, finally succumbing to a first defeat of the campaign at Linfield last weekend, and things don't get any easier tomorrow with the visit of a red-hot Crusaders outfit hungry to reclaim the Gibson Cup for themselves.

"It's hard to describe because it doesn't really feel that we've been on fire," he explained.

"We've picked up points where we've maybe not dominated games and sneaked goals here and there, which is a positive.

"We're yet to hit fourth or fifth gear, we haven't been playing free-flowing stuff, we've played on the counter-attack in a lot of games and maybe picked up points in games that we didn't deserve.

"You don't always get what you deserve in this league, you can be playing great football and end up losing and, while we haven't been playing our best stuff, we've been winning a lot of games and we'll see where that takes us when we hit fourth and fifth gear."

That move up the gears may be needed to control the Crues, who have recovered from their shaky start and know that a defeat of Oran Kearney's men would take them within three points of their hosts with a game in hand.

"They're hitting some form and they are mixing up their squad as well and they all seem to be playing for their shirt. They had a good win over Linfield in the League Cup and are not an easy team to play against," he added.

"We've had a good record at our place recently with Crusaders but it will be a tough one."

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