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Linfield coach Alfie Wylie keen to put brakes on Coleraine

 

By Steven Beacom

Linfield coach Alfie Wylie believes the Blues can beat Coleraine at Windsor Park today and throw a spanner in the works of his old side's bid for the title.

Wylie was on Marty Quinn's backroom staff the last time the Bannsiders won a major trophy - the Irish Cup in 2003 - and, while he is complimentary about what Oran Kearney's team have done this season, there will be no divided loyalties at the weekend.

Linfield remain the only side to have defeated Coleraine in the league in this campaign, winning 2-1 at home in November.

Should David Healy's men repeat that feat and Crusaders overcome derby rivals Cliftonville at Seaview, the gripping Danske Bank Premiership battle at the top will be all but over as Stephen Baxter's side would be three points clear with a vastly superior goal difference with just one match to go.

"Coleraine was a fantastic experience for me and it is superb to see a club outside Belfast doing so well. Not meaning them any harm though, it is important we get three points on Saturday and if they still win the league after that brilliant," said Wylie.

"There's no reason why we can't beat Coleraine. On Saturday I fancy Linfield to come through strong."

Even if the Blues beat Coleraine, it won't make up for what has been a poor campaign at Windsor coming after a brilliant season when Healy led his team to league, Irish Cup and County Antrim Shield glory.

Currently they are fourth in the table and in real danger of missing out on European qualification. To achieve it, Linfield will either have to win the European play-offs or finish third and hope Coleraine triumph in the Irish Cup final over Cliftonville.

Wylie admits there has been much pain at the club in recent months but has backed manager Healy and the players to come back strong next term.

"There's a lot of hurt around now and no one takes pleasure in where we are," Wylie told Cool FM's Bet McLean football show.

"Linfield is a very proud club and the manager is a very proud man. He's been successful all his life and he wants success and showed that last season by what he achieved and there is no doubt he will drive everybody on to make sure that happens again.

"The players know what is demanded at Linfield and going forward they know another season like this one would be unacceptable. Next season I feel you will see a different Linfield."

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