Belfast Telegraph

Crues must maintain strong mentality in title race: Coates


By Graham Luney

Crusaders skipper Colin Coates doesn't believe their squad's greater experience of title run-ins gives them an advantage in the thrilling championship race over Coleraine.

Oran Kearney's slick Bannsiders are the only other team putting up a fight as they look to stop the north Belfast side celebrating a remarkable third Gibson Cup in four seasons.

Oran Kearney and his men, who have only lost once in the Premiership over 33 matches, will be determined to cross the finish line first and Warrenpoint Town can do them a massive favour in front of the Sky Sports cameras this evening.

The Crues can reclaim a two-point advantage going into the first game of the split - a home date with their title rivals next Tuesday.

Tonight's task is made even tougher due to the absence through suspension of Jordan Owens, Billy Joe Burns, Philip Lowry and David Cushley while Gavin Whyte is on international duty with Northern Ireland Under-21s.

Coates said: "I think you can read too much into the lack of experience. The first season we won the league we didn't have that experience but we had momentum and the bit between out teeth. We just knew we were going to win it and it's all about form and momentum with a few bits of magic also needed.

"They have the Irish Cup which is a distraction but we are focused on winning our games.

"We have a few suspensions but other boys can step up and we have plenty of experience. It's tough down there and they usually play an attacking style of football. We need to have the right attitude.

"I was suspended for the Shield final but winning the league is everything to us.

"It's the prestige and financial rewards the club wants."

Belfast Telegraph


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