TOP TWO MEET IN DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP MATCHDAY 34

What a set of fixtures we have in store this Saturday as we enter the final five games of the Danske Bank Premiership season.

Undoubtedly all attention will be on the game at Seaview as leaders Crusaders welcome second-placed Linfield at 3pm with Stephen Baxter’s men holding a five point advantage over the Blues.  The phrase six-pointer is perfect for this match with many saying that a Crusaders win would all but guarantee the title is staying on the Shore Road, but if the result goes the other way we could see the race for the Gibson Cup going right to the wire.

There is another fascinating match at the other end of the table with bottom club Warrenpoint Town hosting Carrick Rangers at Milltown. A home win would see Barry Gray’s side move off the foot of table and they will surely take confidence in the seven points they have taken from their three meetings this season.  Carrick sit two points above ‘Point so will look at avoiding defeat as they aim to keep their Premiership status.  

It’s fourth vs third as Cliftonville face Glenavon at Solitude.  These sides drew 3-3 in January but Glenavon will have to do without their hat-trick hero on that day as Eoin Bradley continues to serve a six-match suspension. The Lurgan Blues however are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions and haven’t lost away from home since November. Cliftonville will take confidence from their last minute winner at Carrick on Tuesday and if they can grab the three points on Saturday it will be the first time since January that they have won two league games on the bounce.

The battle for seventh place is heating up with in-form Ballymena United traveling to Stangmore Park to face Dungannon Swifts. The last meeting between these two ended in a 4-2 win for Dungannon and led to Glenn Ferguson losing his job. Since then new Sky Blues manager David Jeffrey has gone four games unbeaten and are the form side in the bottom half of the table, but Swifts are unbeaten at home in the league since January.

It’s off to the Showgrounds for Glentoran as they face a Coleraine team who have lost their last three games 1-0.  The Glens on the other hand have hit a bit of form winning their last three outings.  This fixture however has always been a close affair with only one match in the last 14 having more than two goals and seven of these games ending in a 1-1 draw.

Portadown have lost seven of their last eight games and are in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle just four points below them as they welcome Ballinamallard United to Shamrock Park.  The Mallards are also in dire need for points after losing their last three but Whitey Anderson will know that his side have won the last two encounters with Portadown and a win would see them move within a point of their opponents.

Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday 9 April , 3pm

Cliftonville  v  Glenavon

Coleraine  v  Glentoran

Crusaders  v  Linfield

Dungannon Swifts  v  Ballymena United

Portadown  v  Ballinamallard United

Warrenpoint Town  v  Carrick Rangers