Crusaders' Gavin Whyte battles with Ballymena Utd's Michael Smyth (Picture: Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye)


It's matchday two in the Danske Bank Premiership on Wednesday night with six games kicking off at 745pm.

Crusaders really threw down a marker to the rest of the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday as they hit Ballymena Utd for six.  Winger Gavin Whyte looks to be back his best while Paul Heatley and Jordan Owens have continued where they left off last season.  They head to the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena to face a Carrick Rangers side who won the last meeting 4-3 in March, but lost 4-0 to Glenavon on Saturday.  

Ballymena Utd will look to bounce back after that defeat at the weekend but face a team in form as Glenavon head to the Showgrounds.  David Jeffrey will not have been happy with his side's performance at Seaview and will demand a much needed improvement all over the pitch.  On the other hand Gary Hamilton will be delighted with the Lurgan Blues' second half performance on Saturday in which they netted four times.  Glenavon go into this game knowing that they haven't tasted defeat against Utd in the last seven meetings (6W 1D).

Linfield hope to continue their winning start as they welcome Coleraine to Windsor Park. The Blues won a tight contest at Ballinamallard on matchday 1 and won all four meetings against thge Bannsiders last season.  Coleraine were left with no game on Saturday after their match against Portadown was postponed so Oran Kearney will be determined to get his season off to a positive start against his former club.

In a repeat of May's Europa League play-off, Cliftonville entertain Glentoran at Solitude.  The Reds were pegged back by Ards in a 2-2 draw on Saturday after leading the contest twice, so manager Gerard Lyttle will be asking his side to go out for the three points against the Glens so that the North Belfast side don't fall behind the leaders so early in the season.  Glentoran won their opener, a 1-0 win against a resolute Dungannon Swifts side thanks to former Cliftonville midfielder Ciaran Caldwell.   

Dungannon Swifts are at home at Stangmore Park for the visit of Ards.  Rodney McAree's men were unlucky to lose at the Oval on Saturday so he will be asking his players to go out for the win against newly promoted Ards.  However, Niall Currie's side were excellent in their 2-2 draw with Cliftonville in their opener and another performance of that level is what he will be looking for once again.

After their first game of the season was postponed, Portadown begin their campaign against Ballinamallard United at Shamrock Park.  In their two meetings here last season the Ports failed to score so Pat McGibbon will be hoping for a change in fortune on Wednesday night.  Ballinamallard Utd lost a tight game to Linfield on Saturday and new manager Gavin Dykes must take some degree of confidence from his side's performance against a very experienced Blues side.

Danske Bank Premiership - Wednesday 10 August (745pm)

Ballymena United  vs  Glenavon

Carrick Rangers  vs  Crusaders

Cliftonville  vs  Glentoran

Dungannon Swifts  vs  Ards

Linfield  vs  Coleraine

Portadown  vs  Ballinamallard United