Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Coleraine's new 'class act' signing can help us go one better, says keeper Chris Johns

By Gareth Hanna

If at first you don't succeed, sign one of the best midfielders in the league.

It's not quite a well known saying but if it pays dividends, it may become one on the north coast.

Coleraine fell just two points short of champions Crusaders last season and reacted by bringing midfielder Stephen Lowry back from Linfield, who he had joined back in 2014.

For star stopper Chris Johns, it's a move that he's hoping could bring the Gibson Cup to the Showgrounds.

Coleraine FC just need to take one more step to seal a league title and keeper Chris Johns is hoping a certain new...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Thursday, August 2, 2018

This is a side that know how to bounce back from defeat. Fast forward a year from their 2017 Irish Cup final loss and the trophy was being proudly paraded round the Ballycastle Road. Could the same happen with Gibbo next May?

"It was out of our hands on the last day of the season but we came very close," Johns said, reflecting on last season's title challenge. "It was similar to the year before when we lost in the Irish Cup final and then wanted to go one better. I guess the feeling is that we want to go one better in the league as well."

So where does Lowry fit in? Well the 31-year-old adds an experienced head alongside regular centre midfielders Brad Lyons (21) and Ciaron Harkin (22). And that could make all the difference.

"He's been brilliant all through pre-season," said Johns. "You could see his quality from the first day of training. Everyone was looking and thinking what a player we've got here. He's been a class act since then and leads by example on the pitch. He's very efficient, he never seems to lose the ball and his positional sense is superb both in attack and defence.

"He'll be great for the younger guys in midfield to play with and looks like he could be an important player for us this season."

Coleraine have also brought in Institute defender Graham Crown this summer. They host Cliftonville at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

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