LEAGUE CUP FINAL: Key battles for Windsor Park showdown

Jordan Owens grabbed the only goal of the game as Crusaders defeated Coleraine in January. Pic by INPHO.
Jordan Owens grabbed the only goal of the game as Crusaders defeated Coleraine in January. Pic by INPHO.

Tonight’s BetMcLean League Cup final marks the fourth fixture between Coleraine and Crusaders across the current campaign.

The three previous Danske Bank Premiership dates have finished with Coleraine enjoying the upper hand courtesy of two wins compared to the Crues’ sole success.

However, Crusaders won the last meeting between the teams - thanks to Jordan Owens’ goal last month.

There will be a number of key battles at either end of the pitch:

Aaron Canning & Adam Mullan v Jordan Owens & Jamie McGonigle

Canning and Mullan have been so impressive at the heart of the Coleraine defence - so much so that they have yet to taste defeat when paired together.

They know they will have their work cut out against Owens and McGonigle.

The Crues’ all-time record goalscorer, Owens, is such a handful and creates goals as well as scores.

He is the perfect foil for the club’s top scorer this season, McGonigle, who is no stranger to the Bannsiders, having made the switch to Seaview from The Showgrounds in the summer.

With four clean sheets on the bounce, however, Coleraine have been a tough nut to crack.

Eoin Bradley v the Crusaders defence

If Bradley is passed fit it will offer a major boost for the Bannsiders.

He seems to thrive against the Crues, who have struggled to contain him in the past.

If Bradley starts Crusaders will have to make sure they deal with his link-up play, which is a key factor in how Coleraine play.

Key Men

Cup finals are won and lost on key moments and when opportunities come along you need someone to rise to the occasion.

Jamie Glackin is thriving under Oran Kearney and has notched 10 goals already this term.

There’s nothing he would love more than to add to that tally against his former club on Saturday.

Prediction

Both teams have strong defences but they also have the ability to score.

What a story it would be if Curtis Allen was to score a crucial goal for the Bannsiders on his second debut for the club.

Stranger things have happened and in Allen Coleraine have a striker with a real eye for goal.

Coleraine 2-1 Crusaders