Linfield manager David Healy has been frustrated with recent performances from his side. ©INPHO/Jonathan Porter


We’ve now played a full round of Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and there have been some shocks along the way, will there be any more this week in another fascinating weekend of football!

Friday 27 October

Crusaders v Ballinamallard United (venue: Seaview; kick-off: 7.45pm)

What a week it’s been for Crusaders! It’s little over five days since the North Belfast side’s stunning 5-2 victory over Linfield in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Windsor Park. The Crues still find themselves eight points behind leaders Coleraine, but there is a determination within Stephen Baxter’s side to regain the Gibson Cup they lost to the Blues last season, so this Friday night encounter will be vital to the Seaview side who have suffered indifferent form at home so far.

It was also a good week for Gavin Dykes’ Mallards as they finally picked up their first win of the league season against Carrick Rangers last Saturday. The Fermanagh men will hope that result will kick start their season as they look to move off the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

BetMcLean odds: Crusaders win [1/8], Draw [6/1], Ballinamallard United win [12/1]

Saturday 28 October

Ballymena United v Warrenpoint Town (venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)

With striker Johnny McMurray back for David Jeffrey’s Ballymena United in midweek, the Sky Blues went ‘back to basics’ against Glentoran in the Shield and came out victorious. The manager will be looking to improve the erratic league form which seen Ballymena crumble at Mourneview Park last Saturday.

Matthew Tipton brings his Warrenpoint side to his former club on Saturday having already suffered defeat to his former mentor earlier in the season and has called for a greater togetherness of his squad after the opening round of Premiership fixtures this season which currently sees the border club sitting in the bottom two of the table.

BetMcLean odds: Ballymena United win [8/5], Draw [100/30], Warrenpoint Town win [7/2]

Carrick Rangers v Glenavon (venue: Belfast Loughshore Hotels Arena; kick-off: 3pm)

David McAlinden’s resolute side suffered a blow last week with a defeat to Ballinamallard United which could have gave them some much needed breathing space from the relegation places. They go up against a Glenavon side which they have already suffered defeat to back in September.

Gary Hamilton’s Lurgan Blues picked apart Ballymena United with consummate ease in the first half last weekend at Mourneview Park and still are very much on the title charge and will be looking all three points in East Antrim if they want to keep up with leaders Coleraine and maintain their strong foothold in second place.

BetMcLean odds: Carrick Rangers win [21/5], Draw [100/30], Glenavon win [9/20]

Coleraine v Glentoran (venue: Coleraine Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)

Coleraine keep passing every test put in front of them in the Danske Bank Premiership this season as they produced another stirring performance against Cliftonville at Solitude last week. Injuries are starting to mount up may be the only vice for manager Oran Kearney, who is likely to include new signing Martin Smith, formerly of Kilmarnock to the panel this weekend.

Having played all other eleven Premiership teams, only Glentoran have taken points off of the Bannsiders this season back in September, when the two teams drew 0-0. Since that game though the Glens have only won two of their last six games, cumulating with defeat to Ballymena United on Tuesday evening – despite the drop in form Gary Haveron’s side currently sit level on points with rivals Linfield having played one game more.

BetMcLean odds: Coleraine win [3/5], Draw [13/5], Glentoran win [4/1]

Dungannon Swifts v Cliftonville (venue: Stangmore Park; kick-off: 3pm)

Swifts manager Rodney McAree was guest on this week’s Danske Bank Premiership show with Cool FM and he feels that despite the ‘massive’ task in hand on Saturday, his side can beat the Reds. The Tyrone side sit only a single place below Cliftonville in the table and a win on Saturday would take them within two points of breaking back into the coveted top six positions.

For Cliftonville, manager Barry Gray’s fine run of form came to an end last weekend with defeat to league leaders Coleraine at Solitude, but they will be keen to bounce back against a Dungannon side which they defeated 2-1 only last month with goals from Garry Breen and Joe Gormley.

BetMcLean odds: Dungannon Swifts win [11/4], Draw [13/5], Cliftonville win [4/5]

Linfield v Ards (venue: Windsor Park; kick-off: 3pm)

Blues’ boss David Healy hasn’t minced his words since defeat to Crusaders on Monday evening, questioning the hunger of his players. Linfield have lost four out of their last five games in all competitions with three consecutive Danske Bank Premiership defeats.

Ards winger Jonny Frazer returns to his former club and told the NI Football League website this week that he’s looking forward to this game as one the County Down side can get something from. Manager Colin Nixon secured a morale boosting win over Warrenpoint Town last Friday night and will go into this game as the first of a double header against the Champions, who they also face in the County Antrim Shield on Monday evening.

BetMcLean odds: Dungannon Swifts win [11/4], Draw [13/5], Cliftonville win [4/5]