PREVIEW: CARRICK RANGERS v LINFIELD (LIVE ON SKY SPORTS)

Carrick Rangers host Linfield in the Danske Bank Premiership live on Sky Sports tonight (kick-off: 7.45pm).

It’s the second live broadcast of the season as the Sky Sports cameras will be at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena for the very first time as Linfield continue to play catch up with their fixtures following their summer exploits in the UEFA Europa League.

David Healy’s side currently have only played four league games, half of the games played by most of their title rivals. Victory in this Premiership encounter could catapult Linfield into fifth place in the table (from eighth) and leave them seven points behind leaders Crusaders, albeit with three games in hand.

Carrick Rangers returned to the Danske Bank Premiership this summer having won promotion in dramatic fashion following the Promotion/Relegation play-off victory over Ards. Going into this game Niall Currie and his Carrick Rangers team start the day in tenth place, hovering over the relegation playoff places with a five point advantage over Institute in the position below them.

Recent Form

Carrick Rangers go into this game off the back of a morale boosting 3-0 win over Warrenpoint Town on Saturday week ago. Stewart Nixon’s hat-trick has established the young forward from Ballymena as one of the top emerging talents in the Danske Bank Premiership this season.

Linfield’s fixtures now start coming thick and fast – their last outing six days ago seen a roller-coaster of a win over Ballinamallard United in the BetMcLean League Cup as the holders came from behind in the dying minutes to eventually win 5-4 in extra time. Their previous Premiership outing, was equally dramatic as they defeated Glentoran thanks to a late Kirk Millar strike at Windsor Park to claim the derby bragging rights.

Last meetings

The last competitive meeting between the sides was in March 2018 at Windsor Park, as goals from Mark Stafford and Jamie Mulgrew sealed a 2-0 win for the Blues. That result sealed a hat-trick of wins for Linfield in their three meetings during the 2017/2018 season that Carrick Rangers were relegated in. The East Antrim side have never beaten

Linfield in the league since the inception of promotion and relegation in 1995, the last time they managed to take points away from this fixture was the 1-1 draw back in October 2015, Aaron Burns’ late equaliser saving David Healy’s blushes in his first home game in charge.

Match Officials

Evan Boyce is the referee for this live game with Paul Robinson and Ryan Kelsey as assistant referees on the line. Keith Kennedy is the fourth official.

Admission

No tickets are required for this match, admission will be by pay at the gate, with adults at £12 and concession at £8.

Watch live

The live broadcast starts on Sky Sports Football from 7.40pm, hosted by Graham Little with Paul Gilmour and Steve Lomas on commentary.

Tags:  Carrick Rangers  Linfield