Irish Premiership: Crusaders and Coleraine in key title clash

Managers Stephen Baxter and Oran Kearney on Tuesday's top-of-the-table clash

Leaders Crusaders will aim to beat Coleraine for the first time this season when the Irish Premiership's top two meet at Seaview on Tuesday night.

The Crues lead the Bannsiders by two points with five fixtures remaining.

Coleraine won the first league game between the teams this season, with the other two encounters ending in draws.

"They have lost one league game all season and that is some going in this league. It'll be tough for both teams," said Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter.

"There will be a bumper crowd and we are looking forward to the challenge - Oran (Kearney) deserves so much credit for the team he has produced this year.

"Coleraine and ourselves have been the stand-out teams this season and it's good to be a couple of points ahead but it's a drive for the line now."

Baxter's side have also put together a terrific run of form, winning 20 and drawing two of their last 23 top-flight outings, their only defeat coming at the hands of north Belfast rivals Cliftonville.

"This game is a bit different as we know that if we pick up points then it means Crusaders have dropped points," said Coleraine boss Kearney.

"It's a big match but there are a lot of other big teams for both sides to play after this," he added.

Fourth-placed Linfield would draw level on points with Glenavon above them if they were to defeat the Lurgan Blues at Mourneview Park, while Ballymena United host Irish Cup finalists Cliftonville in the other match in the top half of the table.

The opening post-split fixtures in the bottom half see bottom club Ballinamallard United afforded the opportunity to cut their five-point deficit to Carrick Rangers when the sides lock horns at Ferney Park.

Glentoran host Dungannon Swifts at the Oval and Ards are at home to Warrenpoint Town, who took a massive step towards preserving their top-flight status by seeing off Dungannon 3-0 on Saturday.

Danske Bank Premiership - Tuesday 3 April - 19:45 BST
ArdsvWarrenpoint Town
Ballinamallard UtdvCarrick Rangers (20:00)
Ballymena Utd vCliftonville
GlentoranvDungannon Swifts
Coverage on BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound and live text commentary on BBC Sport website

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