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Crusaders' Rodney Brown explains why injury nightmare has made him desperate to land League Cup

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Big moment: Rodney Brown says the League Cup final against Coleraine at Windsor Park tonight is his biggest game so far in a Crusaders shirt

Big moment: Rodney Brown says the League Cup final against Coleraine at Windsor Park tonight is his biggest game so far in a Crusaders shirt

Stephen Hamilton/Inpho

Big moment: Rodney Brown says the League Cup final against Coleraine at Windsor Park tonight is his biggest game so far in a Crusaders shirt

Crusaders defender Rodney Brown intends to make up for lost time in tonight's BetMcLean League Cup final against Coleraine at Windsor Park.

The 24-year-old has the chance to put two years of injury agony behind him by racking up his first cup success in a red and black shirt.

Having only returned to action earlier this season, the Kells man has formed an impressive partnership with Billy Joe Burns in the heart of the Crusaders defence - one that recently went on a six-game run without conceding a goal.

With his former club in the opposing corner on this showpiece occasion, Brown insists the timing is just perfect and he would relish the chance of walking up the steps at the international venue to pick up a winners' medal.

"This will be my biggest game so far," states Brown. "I missed out on the Irish Cup final (against Ballinamallard United) last year through injury, it was so frustrating.

"It's difficult looking on from the sidelines, you always want to be involved. When you are injured, you just don't feel part of it. Hopefully, if I'm selected, we can get a result and bring the cup back to Seaview."

Brown admits he went through two years of injury hell after moving from the Showgrounds to join Crusaders in December 2016.

"I sustained a bad injury - Osteitis pubis," he adds. "There are stages you think you are fine, then you just break down. It was crazy.

"It's just as bad as rupturing your cruciate, it's as severe as that. Physically, you can't do anything. You just have to rest up. It's the worst injury I've ever had.

"Every time I attempted to make a comeback, I just kept breaking down. I ended up taking seven months out.

"When I got back this time, I did eight-week rehab with Brian Strain. He was brilliant with me.

"I began jogging for around five minutes and built it up until I was confident I could go into a full training session with the team. I now feel great and I just want to play in every game. I think I'm maybe due a little bit of luck, if nothing else."

Since his return, Brown and Billy Joe Burns have performed with distinction and half helped turn the Shore Road team into a mean machine as they chase down a triple trophy haul.

"BJ is something else," beams Brown. "I just can't understand how he never went across the water when he was young.

"I've been all over the place at Seaview. I think the only position I haven't played is in nets.

"At least I feel now I've found my most comfortable position at centre-back. Playing in beside BJ, he makes it so much easier."

Brown is relishing the prospect of facing the Bannsiders in tonight's televised final.

"I'm sure the banter will be great, with Jamie (McGonigle) and I being former Coleraine players," he adds.

"Coleraine are a top, top side. This is probably the toughest game we could have had in the final.

"We played them a few weeks back on the Friday night and the boss (Stephen Baxter) said in this team talk we hadn't won down there in four years, but we managed it on that occasion.

"We know it's going to be a very tight game, but we'll be going to Windsor Park fully focused."

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