Irish Premiership: Warrenpoint boss Tipton promises tough test for Coleraine

Warrenpoint keeper Jonathan Parr can only watch as Jamie McGonigle scores in Coleraine's 2-1 win in August
Warrenpoint keeper Jonathan Parr can only watch as Jamie McGonigle scores in Coleraine's 2-1 win in August

Matthew Tipton says his Warrenpoint Town team will be no pushovers for Premiership pacesetters Coleraine at Milltown on Friday night.

The Bannsiders are six points clear at the top but 10th-placed Town showed they can mix it with the big boys by drawing with Linfield last weekend.

"Let's invite them down and make it as difficult as possible," said Tipton.

"They may be top of the league but while we haven't won many games, we haven't made it easy for anybody."

Warrenpoint are four points clear of the relegation play-off spot while a surprise win would take them above Ards.

Crusaders are Coleraine's closest challengers and they also have a game in hand on the leaders.

An in-form Ballymena team are the visitors to Seaview on Friday night as Crues boss Stephen Baxter prepares for a busy festive schedule.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership - Friday 22 December (19:45 GMT)
Live commentary and updates on BBC Radio Ulster MW
CrusadersvBallymena Utd
Warrenpoint TownvColeraine

"The next four games for all the teams are vital - you need to get to New Year's Day and then look at it and see where we are," he said.

"They're all really big games of football. After these you'll know where you are in the league and know whether you're in with a shout.

"Coleraine are relentless at the minute - we're trying to hold onto their coat-tails. Every week is a new game and we'll take one game at a time.

"We need to strengthen a bit as we have a lot of injuries. It's all to play for."

Ballymena boss David Jeffrey says the north Belfast encounter will provide his side with "a big challenge".

"We had Crusaders at home in the first match of the season and while we started brightly, we then had a man sent-off and we got a bit of a thumping.

"Also, on the first day of last season we thought we were doing well for the first 25 minutes but we ended up getting beaten 6-0 so we know how tough it's going to be.

"They're very much challenging for that league title but we'll give it our best shot and see how we get on."

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