Linfield face Coleraine in Charity Shield curtain-raiser at Oval

Linfield's Niall Quinn and Brad Lyons of Coleraine in action during the Irish Cup final
Linfield's Niall Quinn and Brad Lyons of Coleraine in action during the Irish Cup final

Last season's league and cup double winners Linfield will face beaten Irish Cup finalists Coleraine in Saturday's Charity Shield encounter at the Oval.

This will be the fourth staging of the season-opening fixture since its re-introduction as the curtain-raiser to the local football calendar in 2014.

Linfield won 3-0 when the sides met in the Irish Cup decider in May, Andrew Waterworth scoring a hat-trick.

Waterworth, Jimmy Callacher and Matthew Clarke are all ruled out with injuries.

Striker Waterworth will be missing for several weeks with a medial ligament problem and Callacher remains absent as he overcomes a hernia complaint, but Clarke is nearing a return to full fitness after sustaining an injury in the Champions League tie with Celtic.

Waterworth absence 'opens door'

"Andy will be a big miss but it gives other players an opportunity to grab their chance and make team selection more difficult for me," said Linfield manager David Healy.

"The players have been in training since 12 June, which seems a lifetime ago, but they are now ready for that next competitive step, having done everything I have asked of them in pre-season.

"The players and I will be judged on competitive games and that starts on Saturday with the Charity Shield game.

"We want to start the season well but Coleraine have good players and will be looking for a little bit of revenge," added the Blues boss.

The Premiership champions have added Josh Robinson, Andy Mitchell, Robert Garrett and Jordan Stewart to their ranks in the close season.

After seeing off La Fiorita 1-0 on aggregate in the first qualifying round of the Champions League, the Blues went down 6-0 over two legs to Celtic in their high-profile second-round tie.

Coleraine add loan signing

Prior to Saturday's match in East Belfast, which will raise funds for Action Mental Health, Coleraine have secured the loan signing of Derry City defender Scot Whiteside, pending international clearance.

Whiteside, who has appeared in several friendlies for the Bannsiders and can play at centre-back or right-back, has agreed a switch to the Showgrounds until January 2018.

The 20-year-old becomes the sixth summer arrival at the Ballycastle Road club following the acquisitions of Aaron Traynor, Stephen O'Donnell, Matthew Kirk, Josh Carson and Joe McCready.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney will be looking for his team to build on their third place finish in the league, in addition to their cup final appearance.

They will however be without forward James McLaughlin, who is set to sit out the entire season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Cliftonville, Glentoran and Glenavon have been the winners of the Shield since its return in 2014.

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