IRISH LEAGUE: David Jeffrey urgest Sky Blues to give it a go against leaders Coleraine

Ballymena's Mathew Shevlin scores during the 2-1 loss at Crusaders
Ballymena's Mathew Shevlin scores during the 2-1 loss at Crusaders

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey is determined to enjoy the Boxing Day derby date at Coleraine - in spite of a gap between the old rivals of 27 points in the Danske Bank Premiership table.

United took the lead on Friday night against Crusaders but finished 2-1 down in spite of a spirited display.

As a result, the festive trip to The Showgrounds is in search of a post-Christmas boost, derby pride, welcome points and the return of a result to rebuild the 10-game unbeaten sequence enjoyed before those Belfast blues.

“Coleraine are flying but we will look forward to it, Boxing Day is absolutely fantastic,” said United manager Jeffrey. “The Boxing Day experience is one I have always enjoyed across my career as a player and manager.

“All credit must go to Oran Kearney when you think about what he has done in terms of blooding young players.

“Oran and Coleraine are now reaping the rewards for meticulous work over the past few years.

“It’s not about a poor man’s psychology to say Coleraine go in as favourites. But we will go out to give it a real go.

“I will tell my player to play with a smile and enjoy the occasion

Kick-off at The Showgrounds is 3pm.