Irish Premiership: Coleraine aim to continue seven-game winning run

Seanan Clucas and Steven Douglas challenge for the ball as Coleraine and Dungannon drew 2-2 in October
Seanan Clucas and Steven Douglas challenge for the ball as Coleraine and Dungannon drew 2-2 in October

Coleraine aim to extend their seven-game winning streak in all competitions and take a further step towards securing a top-six place when they host Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney was named January manager of the month following his side's impressive run of form.

"The top six has always been our target and incentive this season and we want to keep this run going," said Kearney.

"There is still a lot of work to do but we are moving in the right direction."

Coleraine lie fourth in the table with six sets of fixtures remaining until the league splits into the top six and bottom six for the remainder of the campaign.

"There were plenty of people in pre-season prepared to write us off and say the top six wouldn't be a possibility for us, especially since we lost Howard Beverland and Ruairi Harkin from the squad.

"We haven't secured it yet and there is still a lot to do but all parts of the team are functioning well and we have a serious foundation to build on," added Kearney.

Seventh-placed Dungannon harbour top-six ambitions of their own and are unbeaten in their two previous encounters with Coleraine this season, winning 4-0 at Stangmore Park and playing out a 2-2 draw at Ballycastle Road.

The Swifts could have defender Chris Hegarty back after a hamstring strain, while striker Andy Mitchell should be available sooner than expected, though he will not be fit for Saturday's game.

Crusaders are seven points clear at the top of the table as they prepare to entertain Ballymena United, whom they beat 6-0 at Seaview on the opening day of the season, the Sky Blues turning the tables with a 2-1 home win over the champions in October.

Crues pair Paul Heatley and Declan Caddell are both suspended for the game.

Linfield aim to build on their midweek County Antrim Shield success as they travel to Carrick Rangers, who will be boosted by a 4-0 Premiership success over Ards last week.

Ards now lie nine points above Carrick as they bid to avoid a relegation play-off and Colin Nixon's side take on former boss Niall Currie's Portadown outfit at Shamrock Park on Saturday.

"I had five wonderful years at Ards so I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces. I've no doubt it will be a difficult game," said Currie.

Keith O'Hara, Garry Breen, Mark Carson and Sean Mackle are all in line for possible returns for the Ports.

Glentoran have a full squad to choose from for their match against Glenavon at the Oval, with the exception of long-term absentees Willie Garrett and David Scullion.

Glenavon have defender Simon Kelly and midfielder Andy Kilmartin both struggling with groin problems.

Ballinamallard beat Glentoran 1-0 in their last league outing and will hope for a similar outcome when they play third-placed Cliftonville at Ferney Park.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership - 11 February (15:00 GMT kick-offs)
Coverage on Radio Ulster medium wave from 14:00 GMT
Carrick RangersvLinfield
ColerainevDungannon Swifts
PortadownvArds
CrusadersvBallymena Utd
GlentoranvGlenavon
Ballinamallard UtdCliftonville

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