LINFIELD go into Matchday 9 in the Danske Bank Premiership with a four point lead over Crusaders at the top of the table while Warrenpoint Town and Ballinamallard Utd both have home games as they look to close the gap on the sides above them (Saturday, 3pm).

Warren Feeney’s Linfield side won just once and lost three times against Glenavon last season, so he will be demanding a better return from his side when they play at Windsor Park on Saturday.  The Blues failed to score in those three defeats last campaign but this season they are the top scorers and boast the best defence after eight games.  

Glenavon have drawn their last two Premiership games 2-2, grabbing late equalisers against Carrick Rangers and again in midweek away to Portadown.  Gary Hamilton’s side remain unbeaten away from home this season.

Crusaders entertain Carrick Rangers at Seaview as they look to continue their unbeaten run of eight games in all competitions and netting 16 from a possible 18 points in the league in that time.  Those two dropped points came last week at Coleraine as they drew having played for 50 minutes with 10 men and 20 minutes with nine after Paul Heatley and Jordan Forsythe received red cards.

Carrick Rangers were very unlucky to concede a 93rd minute goal to Glenavon as they drew 2-2 last time out, but Gary Haveron must be pleased with his side’s overall performance this season as they sit comfortably in mid-table.

Ballinamallard Utd welcome Cliftonville to Ferney Park hoping to get their first win against the Reds in 12 games.  After 11 straight defeats the Mallards drew 1-1 at Ferney Park last December.  Gerard Lyttle won his debut game as Cliftonville boss last Saturday and another three points on Saturday would help him stake a claim to get the job on a permanent basis.

Warrenpoint Town are at home to Ballymena Utd with Barry Gray’s side searching for a win that would lift them to within a point of their opponents. Daniel Hughes has scored twice in each of his last two games against Ballymena at Milltown.  Ballymena are now unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions scoring 20 and conceding just five goals.

Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson is under-pressure after an inconsistent start to the season and takes his side to Stangmore Park to face Dungannon Swifts who are unbeaten in two games.  The Glens, who lost last weekend to Cliftonville, haven’t beaten any team by more than one goal since March when they defeated Dungannon 2-0.  Darren Murphy will feel his team were unlucky to draw 3-3 with Portadown and if he can lead the Swifts to 3 points on Saturday they will leapfrog the Glens in the table.

Another team showing inconsistency is Portadown who welcome Coleraine to Shamrock Park.  The Ports lost a two goal lead to Glenavon in midweek, and scrambled to a 3-3 draw with Dungannon Swifts last Saturday.  Coleraine themselves conceded a late equaliser to nine-man Crusaders but despite this they still sit fourth in the Premiership and came away from Portadown with a 2-0 win last season.

Danske Bank Premiership

Saturday 26 September, 3pm

Ballinamallard United  v  Cliftonville

Crusaders  v  Carrick Rangers

Dungannon Swifts  v  Glentoran

Linfield  v  Glenavon

Portadown  v  Coleraine

Warrenpoint town  v  Ballymena United