Action from Linfield v Coleraine earlier this season (c) Presseye

PREVIEW: DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP WEEK 13

The Danske Bank Premiership action kick-off tonight at the Oval and concludes on Saturday evening at Mourneview Park – we preview all the games this weekend.

Friday 25 October 2019

Glentoran v Ballymena United (venue: The Oval; kick-off: 7.45pm)

The heart rates of the Glentoran fans will have just come down in time for tonight’s game against Ballymena United, following the pulsating 3-2 win against Larne live on BBC Two NI last Friday evening. Mick McDermott’s men sealed a memorable victory through Paddy McLean’s late overhead kick to gain all three points which keeps the Glens within only six points of the top of the table going into the first game of the weekend.

David Jeffrey’s men sit a place below Glentoran in sixth but make the trip to the Oval, knowing that they have historically a good record at the East Belfast venue and will be aiming to make it five successive games without defeat at the home of the Glens. The Sky Blues suffered a 2-1 defeat at Windsor Park last Saturday, but Jeffrey will be hoping that the return to fitness of key players such as Adam Lecky, Aaron Burns and James Knowles is imminent to boost the attacking threat of the lowest scorers in the top half of the table.

Saturday 26 October 2019

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

There’s a hugely important clash on Saturday at the bottom end of the table as either side could go a long way to keeping their survival hopes alive should they pick up three points at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena. Carrick Rangers manager Niall Currie will be delighted with the valuable 1-0 victory over Dungannon Swifts last Saturday – thanks to Daniel Kelly’s solitary goal, their third win of the campaign and a clean sheet to go with it.

Barry Gray returns to the dugout at Warrenpoint Town for the first time since 2016, he replaced the departed Stephen McDonnell and finds a side low on confidence and low on points after their 7-0 midweek defeat to Linfield at Windsor Park. The ‘Point are still rooted to the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership with only one win from their opening 12 games, the former Cliftonville boss must look for an immediate impact to give his club a fighting chance of staying in the division come the end of April.

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

The Reds closed the gap at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership to just a single point with a clinical 3-0 victory over Institute at the Brandywell last Saturday, in that game Joe Gormley notched his 198th goal on his 300th appearances as he continues as joint leader of the Premiership’s goalscoring charts. Cliftonville have won their last four games in succession at Solitude as they welcome the Swifts to North Belfast on Saturday.

Kris Lindsay’s frustrations with the consistency of Dungannon Swifts continue as they fell to defeat to Carrick Rangers last Saturday. That result keeps the Swifts in eighth position ahead of this week’s fixtures and still only two points outside of the top six, despite defeats to two of the bottom three clubs in recent games – they will however have to perform better than the 4-0 defeat in the last meeting between these sides at Stangmore Park last month.

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

The game of the weekend is expected at the Coleraine Showgrounds, as the new league leaders welcome the reigning champions in a true test of both team’s title credentials. Oran Kearney’s Bannsiders continue to impress all onlookers with their unbeaten campaign – they leap-frogged Crusaders to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership. A bumper crowd is expected for this one as the Bannsiders will look for a repeat of the stunning 4-2 win in August at Windsor Park.

David Healy’s Blues are staring to find a gear in their pursuit of the pack, Linfield followed up their 2-1 win against Ballymena United on Saturday with a resounding 7-0 hammering of Warrenpoint Town on Tuesday night, in the first of their outstanding rescheduled games to be played. The latter victory now moves Linfield just two points behind their opponents this weekend in the bid to retain the Gibson Cup, with two games in hand to play.

Larne v Institute (venue: Inver Park; kick-off: 3pm)

Tiernan Lynch must pick his team up again after their defeat to Glentoran in front of the television cameras last Friday, as they return to Inver Park for the visit of Institute on Saturday. The East Antrim side have dipped in form since their 6-0 win against Glenavon at the start of the month, as they go into this game off the back of three consecutive defeats.

Sean Connor could only watch on as his Stute side went down 3-0 to Cliftonville at home last Saturday, that was a first defeat in three games for his rejuvenated outfit as they start to make inroads to move away from the bottom end of the table. They will have to perform better than the last meeting between the clubs in September, as Larne ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at the Brandywell.

Glenavon v Crusaders (venue: Mourneview Park; kick-off: 5pm)

In the Saturday evening kick-off at Mourneview Park, Glenavon welcome Crusaders in a game that neither club can afford to drop points in. The Lurgan Blues stopped their sequence of defeats with a 3-1 win against bottom placed Warrenpoint Town last Saturday but then suffered a League Cup third round exit to Newry City in midweek.

Crusaders must regroup and bounce back after losing their place at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership last weekend, following their second defeat of the season to Coleraine. The Crues are still level on points with Coleraine and will be aiming to capitalise on Glenavon’s poor form this season, having already defeated Gary Hamilton’s side 3-2 this season at Seaview.