Coleraine travel to Shamrock Park

New-look Portadown next up for Bannsiders as Danske Bank Premiership returns

Coleraine travel to Shamrock Park

Coleraine will have to keep a close eye on Portadown striker Adam Salley.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

damianmullan@thechronicle.uk.com

Friday 14 January 2022 10:04

COLERAINE get an early chance to run the rule over Irish Cup second round opponents Portadown when the two teams meet in the league this weekend.

The clubs were paired together in the draw after first round victories - the Bannsiders hitting Windmill Stars for six while the Ports found the going more difficult against Limavady Utd, eventually winning 2-0.

Portadown striker Lee Bonis, who didn’t play against Andy Law’s side, has left Shamrock Park for Larne, his former club benefitting to the tune of a reported £100,000.

Ports’ boss Matthew Tipton has wasted no time on spending some of that transfer fee as he looks to bring in new players for the second half of the season.

Former Coleraine defender Howard Beverland is one of a number of new arrivals, as the mid-Ulster club target Dankse Bank Premiership survival.

Also joining the Ports is 25-year-old midfielder Josh Doherty, a former NI international at U17, U19 and U21 level.

Matthew Lusty, meanwhile, joins the Shamrock Park club on loan from parent club Larne.

Coleraine, for their part, have been quiet to date in the transfer window, although it was reported at the weekend that the club has agreed a pre-contract with Glentoran striker Andy Mitchell.

The club has also been heavily linked with a move for Crusaders midfielder Philip Lowry, brother of Coleraine player Stephen.

There has been no movement on that front despite plenty of speculation, though the situation may now change following Jude Winchester's switch to Seaview from Ballymena Utd.

The Bannsiders go into the game on the back of a rotten run of results in the league, their last win coming against Larne at the Showgrounds on November 19.

Since then, they have drawn two and lost four of their games, precipitating a slide down the Danske Bank Premiership table from a high of second place to their current standing of seventh.

Portadown start the weekend in 11th position, just four points ahead of bottom club Warrenpoint Town and a similar number behind tenth placed Dungannon Swifts.

They are firmly in a relegation battle at this moment in time and have won just twice in the league to date.

However, they can not be taken lightly. In the corresponding game at Ballycastle Road at the end of October, Coleraine found the going tough against Matthew Tipton's well organised side.

A Paul Finnegan own goal gave the hosts a half-time lead but they had to wait until added time before Matthew Shevlin made the game safe with a goal on the counter attack.

That win saw the Bannsiders hold on to third place in the league table, heady days less than three months ago.

A lot has changed since then but Bannsiders' boss Oran Kearney remains convinced that his squad contains too many quality players not to return to winning ways.

Saturday would be a good time to start.

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