Belfast Telegraph

League table doesn't add to Coleraine's incentive to beat Crusaders, insists Bradley


On alert: Eoin Bradley expects to face a hungry Crusaders
On alert: Eoin Bradley expects to face a hungry Crusaders

By Graham Luney

Coleraine striker Eoin Bradley is expecting a Crusaders backlash at Seaview tomorrow and he insists the Bannsiders will not get carried away with their promising start to the league campaign.

Oran Kearney's men can go level on points with leaders Crusaders if they win at the Shore Road venue - an incentive, if ever it was needed, to record an away win. Coleraine remain the only unbeaten side in the Danske Bank Premiership and they have also developed a mean streak at the back, with only nine goals conceded in 11 games representing a solid and resolute backline.

While the Irish Cup holders will be hungry to return to winning ways after being held 1-1 at Ballymena United last weekend, they will need to hit top gear against a confident Bannsiders side playing with self-belief and confidence.

Coleraine also thumped the Crues 4-2 at the Showgrounds in September and Bradley, who netted in that four-star display, is expecting a tougher test.

"In games like these you don't need any extra incentive," said Bradley, who is shaking off a flu virus and hopes to be fit for battle. "Crusaders or Linfield are the big opponents and demand your focus. Over the last few years they have had some bad results against us and I've no doubt they will be up for it.

"We can go joint top, but if you need that as an incentive there's something wrong with you.

"A lot of the players are still here from the time Oran left so we know all about how he works and his expectations.

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"Everyone was given a lift when he came back, and I can only speak for myself when I say if he asks me to do something, I'll do it, and vice versa. There's that trust, and we get on well in and outside of football."

The Bannsiders and Cliftonville, who are a point further back in third position, are threatening to break the dominance of the Blues and Crues in the title race but Bradley feels no one should ever underestimate the big guns.

"We are on game No.12 and every game is tough so we won't get ahead of ourselves," he added. "On any given day the Irish League can bite you, but we are playing with confidence and working hard for each other.

"What the Crues and Linfield have that other sides don't is their big squad numbers, and that means if two or three players are injured, they aren't missed. We need to be lucky with suspensions and injuries, more so than the clubs who have won the title recently."

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