Crusaders Colin Coates to keep eye on Ballymena United’s Adam Lecky and Cathair Friel in Irish Cup tie

Crusaders skipper Colin Coates is determined to make it through to the semi-finals of the Tennents Irish Cup tomorrow afternoon but knows that Ballymena United strikers Adam Lecky and Cathair Friel will have to watched.

Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 7:00 am
Ballymena Uniteds Adam Lecky and Cathair Friel

Lecky and Friel have been in good form this year as their goals have fired United to second place in the table.

Friel has 18 goals to his credit so far while Lecky has hit the target 13 times to leave David Jeffrey’s side in second place between Linfield and ahead of third placed Crusaders.

And Coates admits that the pair will have to be watched at Seaview tomorrow afternoon.

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“They have struck up a good partnership and it’s a bit of a little and large act.

“Friel has pace and he is deceptively good in the air for his size.

“He makes runs into the channels and he will try and stretch the back four.

“And Lecky who is very tall would probable prefer the ball into his feet a wee bit more.

“He also holds it up for Ballymena very well and he also the quality to link-up the play. He can play midfielders in and play wee balls around the corner.

“But they have dangers all over the pitch and we know on Saturday we will have to perform to our best.

“But we also have boys who can find the back of the net as well.

“Jordan Owens and Paul Heatley for a few weeks and you want guys like that in your team every week.

“However David Cushley, Ronan Hale, Rory Patterson and Rhys McGinley bring us plenty of quality up-front.

“And whatever team we have out on Saturday we will all be out for the win.

“This is also a cup we haven’t done very well in the last few years after doing so well in the league.

“We want to win the Irish Cup after a fw years of frustration,”added Coates.

And Ballymena manager Jeffrey admits his side will have to be at their best if they want to make it through to the last four.

“The games between us this season have been very close and tight.

“The games have been good on the eye and very competitive and some decent football has been on display.

“The facts for us are very simple that we are playing at the home of the champions. I listen to interviews from a number of Crusaders players and they will targeting the Irish Cup as a direct entry into Europe.

“They played last Friday night and we played Tuesday night so in terms of rest and recovery they have the upper hand.

“We have a mountain, an absolute mountain to climb but it is another opportunity for our players to continue our education and development and we will go and see how we can compete against the champions and give of our best.”

Jeffrey’s side saw off Cliftonville 2-1 on Tuesday night to keep their grip on second place in the Danske Bank Premiership and the Sky Blues manager knows that Crusaders - who trail his side by five points - are still in the hunt for a top two finish.

“In the league the team we have to concentrate on at this time is the one that is on our - Crusaders.

“Before the Cliftonville game on Tuesday night we were two points ahead and now we are five points ahead but there are still nine league games to go.

“And I tell you the steam train that is Crusaders FC will be coming steaming up behind us.

“We know what Crusaders are capable of and without a shadow of a doubt and look where they came from and what they did last year.

“There is a lot of football still to be played and we are just looking after ourselves.

“It is better we just concentrate on ourselves and just try and accumulate as many points as we can and see where that takes us.

“The boys have been fantastic so far this season.”