Home comforts for the Sky Blues in Shield decider as Crues go for first of five trophies

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Ballymena celebrate their Toals County Antrim Shield success in 2016. Image: Co. Antrim FA.

Q Radio Sport

Ballymena United are set to face Crusaders in the final of the Toals County Antrim Shield on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

The Sky Blues won the toss for the venue and it will be staged at the Warden Street Showgrounds.

The Crues are unbeaten in 21 matches in all competitions and remain in the running for five trophies.

They start as favourites, but their Ballymoney-based defender Howard Beverland says that means nothing at this stage...

The Crues go into the game without club captain Colin Coates - he's suspended after being sent off during the six-goal draw at Coleraine on Saturday.

Seaview boss Stephen Baxter says he'll have to make some changes...

The Crues last won a trophy when they lifted the league title in 2016.

David Jeffrey's men only have to go back to last year's League Cup final.

Striker Johnny McMurray is hoping for a repeat performance...

Ballymena captain Jim Ervin has played in many finals in a long and distinguished career with the Sky Blues and Linfield.

He says second best isn't good enough...

Both sides have won the Shield six times, with Crusaders missing out last year when they lost in the final to Linfield, also at the Showgrounds.

Ballymena have beaten the Blues twice in recent finals - the last one at Windsor Park in 2016.

The most recent league encounter between this year's finalists was just before Christmas at Seaview, the Crues running out 2-1 winners.

United are unbeaten in 13 home games while Crusaders haven't lost away from home this season.

So something has to give!

The tie is all-ticket and will be played to a finish. 

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