Coleraine’s Howard Beverland believes the end of season Europa League play-offs will have the intensity of a cup final.
The Bannsiders’ skipper is relishing the big finale which has European football as the carrot for those teams involved.
There is a possibility only three teams may be involved as third placed Glenavon are through to the Irish Cup final, and Dungannon Swifts, who are currently seventh, have not applied for a UEFA Licence.
So the team who finish fourth COULD get a bye straight into the final.
“It’s important that we finish as high up the table as possible,” Beverland told Times Sport.
“Not only does it guarantee a home draw but there is also the possibility of only having to play one game.
“At the minute though we are looking at two games to get into Europe, which is a great incentive.
“No matter who we have to face the manager will have a plan put in place for us.
“It’s fantastic to be fighting for such a big prize at this stage in the season, it will be a defining moment for us.
“We have made considerable progress from last season, but to be honest we needed to.
“The younger players have been great and they have rightly received a lot of praise.
“But the senior players have been fantastic too, and together both compliment each other so well.
“I’d urge the fans to get out and get behind us. This will be like a cup final for us with a massive prize up for grabs.”
The Bannsiders begin the first game of their post-split fixtures this Saturday at home to Glentoran. The Glens beat them 1-0 last time out, their third 1-0 reverse in a row, Beverland though feels that if his side take their chances they will get back to winning ways again.
“We just need to get our ruthless streak back again,” he said.
“Earlier in the season we were scoring for fun, but now is when it matters most.
“It’s important we build up a bit of momentum coming into the final games.
“It will turn a good season into a great season.”