Allen eyes Euro trip

CURTIS Allen believes a European place is a ‘very real possibility’ after the Bannsiders closed the gap on Portadown and Cliftonville on Saturday.

The former Linfield man grabbed his 22nd goal of the season at the weekend as Coleraine saw off bogey side Crusaders.

And with the Ports sharing the spoils with Tommy Breslin’s side at Shamrock Park the Bannsiders are only four points off second place.

“European football is a very real possibility for us and this is a massive three points towards that,” Allen told Times Sport after the 1-0 win.

“It is a big bonus for us with Cliftonville and Portadown drawing today. We have to play them both and we will fight them all the way to finish as high up the table as possible.

“It would be brilliant for this club to qualify for Europe again. That’s massively pleasing for us today particularly after the disappointment of last week and the final. Crusaders beat us fair and square last week with a very good away performance, but we just never got going on the day.

“It was probably quite fitting that we played them again today, because we needed a reaction.

“We got the ball down and played our game today and we created a lot of chances. But we also stood up to the battle when needed.

“I think we fully deserved the win and maybe could have won by a bigger margin, but at the end of the day we got the three points and that’s all that matters.”

Allen popped up with the vital goal to give Oran Kearney his first win over the Crues as Coleraine manager with 13 minutes to go, as he once again showed his prowess for sniffing out a chance in the box.

“That’s what I sort of do best, I always seem to be able to pick up the pieces in there,” he said.

“Howard flicked it on and I managed to get up over two of them and score. I’m buzzing to grab another goal.

“I’ve had a lot of critics in my time who say I never score against physical teams, but I think I’ve proved that to be wrong.

“That’s 22 for the season now, which is fantastic. I’m confident at the minute and I feel I can add a few more to my tally.”

The live Sky game at Portadown on March 24th already looks like being a pivotal point in the season and it’s one that Allen is looking forward too.

“The Sky games are brilliant and everyone is looking forward to it,” said Allen. And with the results today it makes it an even bigger game.

“The stage is set for us to perform and hopefully we can get the win and I can maybe grab a couple of goals.”

Boss Oran Kearney is looking forward to an exciting finale to the season, though he admitted he is only focusing on this Saturday’s trip to Lisburn Distillery.

Kearney said it was a ‘massive game’ for the Bannsiders.

“The big emphasis this term was getting in the top six and making sure we had an exciting end to the season.

“That result today throws us right into the mix and makes things exciting.”