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Saturday 27th April v. Crusaders (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Coleraine Match Preview
Uploaded Friday, 29th Sep, 2017 at 12:40

INJURY ravaged Ballymena United host rivals Coleraine in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday.
The last time the sides met was in April when a single debut goal from Kofi Balmer secured a draw and home ties in both Europa League Play-Off games. The derby games last season seen 3 draws and a win for United in the league, a 3-0 win for the Sky Blues in extra-time on their route to winning the Northern Ireland League Cup for the first time, and a 4-0 defeat at home to Coleraine in the Tennent's Irish Cup.
Latest results v Coleraine (all league unless stated):
Coleraine 1-1 Ballymena United, Coleraine Showgrounds, 29th April 2017. Att: 1432
Ballymena United 1-1 Coleraine, Ballymena Showgrounds, 21st March 2017. Att: 1424
Ballymena United 0-4 Coleraine, Ballymena Showgrounds, 4th March 2017. (Tennent's Irish Cup Quarter-Final)
Ballymena United 2-0 Coleraine, Ballymena Showgrounds, 26th December 2016. Att: 2833
Ballymena United 0-0 (3-0 aet) Coleraine, Ballymena Showgrounds, 13th December 2016. (Northern Ireland League Cup Semi-Final)
Coleraine 2-2 Ballymena United, Coleraine Showgrounds, 1st October 2016. Att: 1359
Coleraine have had an excellent start to the season and are the only side to remain unbeaten in the Danske Bank Premiership, with a total of 19 goals for and only 5 against. Their first draw of the season was last weekend when they drew 0-0 against Glentoran at The Oval, Glens player John McGuigan slipping and sending an injury-time penalty kick high over the bar, leaving the Bannsiders a single point ahead of Linfield at the top of the table. They will be missing Josh Carson who got sent off 20 minutes into last week's game.
Ballymena United:
After a disappointing start to the season, United now have 3 league wins under their belts, a 1-0 home win over Cliftonville and 3-1 wins away to Warrenpoint Town and Ballinamallard. This leaves them sitting in 8th spot in the league, level on points with both Cliftonville and Dungannon Swifts, so a win over Coleraine would, at the very least, keep us close to a coveted top six spot.
Manager David Jeffrey spoke to the website on Thursday evening about the injury problems United face:
"It's not great to be honest, and certainly not ideal going into Saturday's match.

In defence, a huge blow to us is that Kyle Owens is out with a hamstring injury. Emmet Friars recovery is encouraging but this Saturday would be too soon and unfortunately Kofi Balmer also picked up a knee ligament injury in the U20's game last week.

Our midfield squad will be without Eoin Kane (groin), Stephen McAlorum who is improving but still a bit off returning and Daniel McIlhatton requires a minor operation.

Our attacking options will not include Kevin Braniff, who is improving from his hamstring injury but still isn't ready. Johnny McMurray took part in training tonight for the first time which was great to see but he is still some way off from his comeback. Matthew Shevlin has the cast removed from his broken wrist and we hope will be back in the next couple of weeks. Finally it is touch and go for Joseph McKinney, just a case of wait and see.

Saturday is a massive game and I always say that injuries leave players disappointed, but they also open the door up for others, and no greater opportunity than a derby match against the league leaders."
Entrance and exit details for Ballymena United fans:
Ballymena United spectators will only be able to gain entry from the ECOS side of the stadium, in other words all spectators travelling to this match by car should drive to the roundabout on the Broughshane Road and take the turn off signposted to ECOS and follow Kernoghan's Lane into the car park at the rear of the Showgrounds.

Any spectators walking to the stadium should walk down Suffolk Street onto Farm Lodge Avenue and make their way to Gate E, then around the new 2G pitch and along the rear of the Main Stand to the turnstiles at Gate P.

Slemish Drive turnstiles will NOT be open for this match and Slemish Drive car park will not be available for use by Ballymena United Supporters.

Supporters are also advised that at the end of the match ALL Ballymena United spectators will be required to leave via gate P and on towards ECOS centre/Kernoghan's Lane then Broughshane Road.

There will be no egress towards Slemish Drive, Warden Street or Suffolk Street.

Your understanding and assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated by the club.
Match Officials:
Referee: Andrew Davey. Assistant 1: Georgios Argyropoulos. Assistant 2: Mark O'Brien. 4th Official: Steven Gregg.
Match Information:
Admission for home supporters is strictly by ticket only and tickets will remain on sale from Stirling Trophies, Queen Street, Ballymena up until 12 midday on Saturday.

Away fans can pay at the gate.

Kick off is 3:00pm.
Can United put a dent in Coleraine's title aspirations and keep themselves in touch with the top six? With a host of players out through injury, and the Bannsiders sitting at the top of the table, the Sky Blues know it'll be a huge battle, but one thing is for sure - those that take to the pitch will be doing their utmost to become the first side to defeat the league leaders this season. Make sure you have your ticket, get down to the Showgrounds and cheer on YOUR team - Come On Sky Blues!
Match Preview by Paul Irwin