The BetMcLean League Cup (c) Presseye
Tuesday, 03 December 2019
We're down to the last four in the BetMcLean League Cup - we look ahead to both of tonight's semi-finals.
Crusaders v Institute (venue: Seaview; kick-off: 7.45pm)
Crusaders moved top of the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday thanks to their avalanche of goals against Dungannon Swifts, they will be aiming to use that confidence to progress to the League Cup final for the first time in six years. Stephen Baxter has only managed to win the trophy once during his tenure, defeating Coleraine at the Ballymena Showgrounds back in 2012. The Crusaders boss will be boosted by the news that David Cushley has committed to a further two year contract extension at Seaview ahead of tonight’s game.
Resurgent Institute will be brimming with confidence as they attempt to reach their first ever major final under Sean Connor. Since his appointment, ‘Stute have been galvanised and their win against Coleraine at the Brandywell at the weekend edges them ever closer to moving out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. The North West side drew 1-1 with Crusaders during their last league meeting a month ago and will be hoping to go one better tonight at Seaview as they welcome Ryan Morrow back from suspension.
Linfield v Coleraine (venue: Windsor Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)
Having not progressed to the League Cup final in 11 years until this year, David Healy will be aiming to make it back-to-back appearances in the showpiece final. They continue the defence of the BetMcLean League Cup at home tonight against Coleraine – and go into the game off the back of a fortuitous late 1-0 win against Larne on Saturday, with Josh Robinson scoring the winner.
Oran Kearney’s Bannsiders have not been to a League Cup final since 2012 and you have to go back to 1988 for the last (and only) time Coleraine got their hands on the trophy. The surprise defeat to Institute on Saturday knocked Coleraine off the top of the Danske Bank Premiership on goal difference. Aaron Canning returns from suspension for the visitors, who also have Adam Mullan back from injury.
Coleraine have come out on top in both meetings between the sides in the Premiership this season, winning home and away, but only two points now separate these sides in the league, with Linfield having two games in hand.
Coverage of both semi-finals will be available on BBC Radio Ulster MW (1341) and on the BBC Sport NI website.