Glenavon v Coleraine: the top two in the Danske Bank Premiership meet again on Saturday at Mourneview Park ©INPHO/Lorcan Doherty
Thursday, 02 November 2017
The top two in the Danske Bank Premiership meet at Mourneview Park on Saturday, we preview each of this weekend’s fixtures with match odds supplied by BetMcLean.
Ards v Crusaders (venue: Bangor Fuels Arena; kick-off: 3pm)
What a week it’s been for Ards as they progressed to the County Antrim Shield semi-finals with their first win at Windsor Park since 1986! Despite losing the same fixture in the Danske Bank Premiership last Saturday, October has seen an upturn in form for Colin Nixon’s side as they aim to move further away from the relegation battle.
Ards have already head Stephen Baxter’s Crusaders to a scoreless draw at Seaview this season, but the pressure is on the Crues to keep with the pacesetters and with the top two playing each other this week, the third-placed Shore Road side will be desperate to make a dent in the 11 point gap at the top of the table.
BetMcLean odds: Ards win [15/2], Draw [9/2], Crusaders win [1/4]
Ballinamallard United v Linfield (venue: Ferney Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Nobody panic! Is the mantra from Linfield at the minute as the Champions go into this crucial tie in Fermanagh on Saturday off the back of five defeats in their last seven games and 13 points behind leaders Coleraine at this early stage of the season. David Healy may look to change his personnel about after Monday night’s defeat to Ards, including a recall for Roy Carroll in his native surroundings.
The Mallards have suffered two defeats in the last week to both Crusaders (on Saturday) and Coleraine midweek, which still leaves Gavin Dykes’ side bottom of the Premiership, a position they have held for most of the season to date.
BetMcLean odds: Ballinamallard United win [17/2], Draw [9/2], Linfield win [1/5]
Cliftonville v Carrick Rangers (venue: Solitude; kick-off: 3pm)
The Reds’ stop start season took two steps forward and one back this week as on Saturday past they took apart Dungannon Swifts by four goals without reply on the road but then two days later suffered defeat to rivals Crusaders in the County Antrim Shield after being ahead in the game. On the plus side both Rory Donnelly and Joe Gormley found themselves back on the scoresheet and the Solitude side will be looking to return to winning ways against Carrick.
Rangers’ manger David McAlinden was always a firm favourite at Solitude during his playing days, but he faces the unenviable task of taking his side to North Belfast in search of a result. Carrick have already been on the end of a narrow defeat to Barry Gray’s team this season but will need to turn the narrow defeats into points if they are to move away from their precarious current tenth place position.
BetMcLean odds: Cliftonville win [1/3], Draw [7/2], Carrick Rangers win [13/2]
Glenavon v Coleraine (venue: Mourneview Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Undoubtedly the game of the weekend! Not many pundits would have predicted this as first against second at the start of the season, but how crucial could this game be in the Danske Bank Premiership title race come the end of the season. Bannsiders’ boss Oran Kearney and Glenavon goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey discuss the game at length on this week’s Cool FM show.
Although eight points seperates the two sides, Glenavon have a game in hand and a win at Mourneview Park on Saturday could shift the momentum towards Gary Hamilton’s side going into the Christmas period. The Lurgan Blues will also have the benefit of a week’s rest following their win against Carrick Rangers last week, with Coleraine narrowly overcoming Ballinamallard United in midweek to maintain their unbeaten record this season in the league.
BetMcLean odds: Glenavon win [7/5], Draw [12/5], Coleraine win [6/4]
Warrenpoint Town v Dungannon Swifts (venue: Milltown; kick-off: 3pm)
Warrenpoint Town welcome the Swifts to Milltown on Saturday and will be buoyed by their endeavours at Ballymena United last weekend when they drew 3-3 at the Showgrounds, but will need to turn their impressive forward play into wins if they want to move out of the bottom two, which could happen this weekend if results go the right way for Matthew Tipton.
Rodney McAree goes into this game off the back of four consecutive defeats in all competitions and will be in desperate need of a win to keep in touch with the top six. The two sides met at Stangmore Park in September when Chris Hegarty’s winning goal separated the two sides.
BetMcLean odds: Warrenpoint Town win [13/8], Draw [5/2], Dungannon Swifts win [5/4]