Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders and Coleraine are all set to take on English teams in Cup quest

By Graham Luney

Crusaders and Coleraine could face English opposition in the IRN-BRU Cup next season.

England National League sides Sutton United and Boreham Wood will join Irish and Welsh clubs in the tournament at the second round stage.

Stephen Baxter's side reached the semi-finals earlier this year when they lost 3-2 at Inverness.

Also involved in next season's competition will be Bohemians and Bray Wanderers along with Welsh teams The New Saints and Connah's Quay.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: "The IRN-BRU Cup remains an innovative and evolving competition, and we are pleased to now extend a warm welcome to the National League and their representatives, Sutton United and Boreham Wood.

"We look forward to developing a positive relationship with our counterparts in England, just as we have with representatives from the leagues of Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland over the last two years."

Bruce Elliott, Chairman of Sutton United, said: "We're delighted to have been asked to compete in the IRN-BRU Cup.

"Both manager Paul Doswell and I are excited at taking part in a competition that is new for us, and gives us the chance to encounter new opposition and play against sides that we would not meet in our normal schedule.

"We are thoroughly looking forward to it."

Crusaders have added goalkeeping coach David McClelland and physio Brian Strain to their backroom team.

Meanwhile former Portadown favourite Martin Russell has been appointed Bray Wanderers manager while Cork City have signed former Crystal Palace ace Damien Delaney until the end of the 2019 season.

The 36-year old defender signalled his wish to leave Palace last month after spending six successful seasons with the club.

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