Higgins set for a start in crucial match

New Coleraine No.4 Ruaidhri Higgins checks out the "stripes" before his first training session at the club. ''photo:Derek Simpson
New Coleraine No.4 Ruaidhri Higgins checks out the "stripes" before his first training session at the club. ''photo:Derek Simpson
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Ruaidhri Higgins should make his Coleraine debut tonight (Tuesday) at home to Glenavon.

The midfielder missed out on Friday night’s defeat against Dungannon Swifts as his international clearance didn’t come through.

“We got word through at 5pm this evening that Ruaidhri’s international clearance is sorted so he will be available for Tuesday night,” said Oran Kearney.

“Ideally we can strengthen the squad by having a couple of those injured players available for the game too.

“The two games we have played Glenavon in already this season have been real ding dong battles.

“We won the game down there late on and I think there will be nothing between the teams come Tuesday night again.

“We have to match that performance but we have to produce some quality in the final third, we have to start putting the ball in the back of the net, it’s as simple as that.”

Kearney is under no illusion about the significance of the game.

“For me we have to beat Glenavon if we are going to make the top six, it is as simple as that.

“If we can get a result it leaves us six points behind with six to play before the split and anything can happen in those games.

“It all hinges on Tuesday night though. If Glenavon come through it unbeaten it would be a tough job for us to overturn them.

“You can call it a cup final, it is a game we need to win to keep our top six dreams alive.”

Meanwhile, Kearney paid tribute to Michael Doherty, whose friend Steven Deeney tragically passed away on Thursday.

“Events like that put it all into perspective,” he said.

“There was never a doubt about Michael playing, but it has been a tough last 24 hours for him, his club, his family and the surrounding area.

“Nobody likes to see anything like that in sport, but unfortunatley it has happened a few times in football, GAA and other sports in recent years and it’s not nice.

“Credit to Michael I thought he put it to the side and he did his friend credit with his performance.”