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Glackin relishing Crues showdown

AT this precise moment in time there are few players playing better in the Danske Bank Premiership than Coleraine’s Jamie Glackin.

The 24-year-old Omagh man has been in sensational form for the Bannsiders this season and his impressive performances is one of the main reasons why Coleraine are second in the table, just four points behind leaders Linfield.

It would appear that the former Tyrone Milk Cup star has come of age since the return of Oran Kearney to the Ballycastle Road showgrounds. No further away than Saturday Glackin scored the winner in a top-of-the-table clash with Glentoran at the Oval and a few weeks back registered a sparkling hat-trick against Warrenpoint Town.

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The Omagh lad is right on top of his game and come this evening he’ll be looking to win his first medal as a Coleraine player as the Bannsiders lock horns with his former club Crusaders in the final of the BetMcLean League Cup in the National Stadium at Windsor Park.

That will be an occasion to savour and the attacking midfielder is relishing the challenge ahead.

“It’s going to be a big week in training but we need to be chilled, focused and have clear heads about what’s in front of us,” said Gackin, who back in 2012 scored in a 2-0 victory for Tyrone against Manchester United in the Milk Cup.

“It’s going to be a tough game. The Crues have their strengths and so do we, don’t be surprised if it goes to extra-time. It’s all about who turns up on the day.

“After defeating Glentoran on Saturday I was immediately thinking what a big win that was for us. However it wasn’t too long until thoughts turned to the cup final.

“That’s the way it is. We are just thinking about the next game. After Saturday we have 11 cup finals for the league run-in and then, of course, we still have the Irish Cup. The next few months are going to be massive.”

During his time at Crusaders, Glackin won a Premier League and Co Antrim Shield winners’ medal before Rodney McAree snapped him up for Coleraine following the departure of Kearney to St Mirren.

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Kearney returned to the Bannsiders during the summer, following the sacking of McAree, and at that point Glackin was uncertain regarding his future at The Showgrounds

But the returning supremo reassured the ex-Dungannon Swifts man that he featured in his plans and following a strong pre-season, Glackin, who celebrates his birthday on Sunday, hasn’t looked back.

“So far it’s been a good season for the team and myself on a personal level,” he continued.

“I did extra training on my own during pre-season and I think that has benefited me. Under Oran my role has also changed. He has given me licence to roam, do what I wish and has encouraged me to go and play. And so far it’s working for me and, more importantly, for the team.

“Oran is a top manager, a bit like Jurgen Klopp in that he knows the players inside out and has everyone on his side. He’s largely working with the same squad since returning and sometimes I find it hard to get my head around how he has been able to come in and pick things up straight away. Yeah there has been a few ins and outs but it’s near enough the same panel of players.

“We’re a band of brothers up there and Oran has given me the platform to go and play.

Like his good friend Robbie McDaid at Glentoran, Glackin is a name that is on everyone’s lips right now.

It goes without saying that he’s loving life at the Bannsiders, yet, if the opportunity to play football on a full-time basis presented itself he wouldn’t rule out giving it due consideration.

“I’m probably punching above my weight this season but it’s not something I have really thought about if I’m honest,” he added.

“I have a year and half left on my contract but again if something full-time was on offer then of course I would have a look at it. You never say never.

“Right now though my focus is Coleraine and trying to win Saturday’s final.”

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