© AMMG Sports/Chris Scott

PREVIEW: WOMEN'S PREMIERSHIP GAMEWEEK 17

The Danske Bank Women’s Premiership continues tonight as we preview the matches in gameweek 17 of the 2019 campaign.

Champions Linfield are back in action as they face a testing trip to Crusaders while the top two go head-to-head at the Melvin Sports Complex as Sion Swifts welcome Glentoran, while Comber Rec sit out this round.

Cliftonville Ladies v. Derry City (venue: Solitude; kick-off 8pm)

Cliftonville's form has improved in recent weeks as they have picked up a respectable seven points from their last four league games. That included a thumping 5-1 North Belfast derby victory over Crusaders before a credible late draw against Glentoran while they ousted Comber Rec. 5-0 last time out.

The Reds will once again be favourites for the points in this clash against a side who they have beaten in their 11 previous encounters. The North Belfast side have recorded 3-0 and 2-0 victories respectively over Derry this campaign, with the visitors picking up just four points from their opening 14 league outings.

Crusaders Strikers v. Linfield (venue: Seaview; kick-off 8pm)

Linfield return to league duty for the first time since July following their Champions League campaign. The Blues defeated Greek champions PAOK but exited at the group stages following defeats to Lillestrom and Anderlecht - league champions in Norway and Belgium respectively.

The Blues defeated the Crues 3-0 in Saturday's Irish Cup semi-final and will be hoping to make up for lost time in the league. Phil Lewis' side have slipped to third but have a game in hand over Sion Swifts and two on Glentoran, who both sit just one point above them in the standings.

However, the Crues will be a formidable opponent and indeed in their last league meeting, it took two late goals for the South Belfast side to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a pulsating 3-2 win.

Sion Swifts Ladies v. Glentoran Women (venue: Melvin Sports Complex; kick-off 8pm)

This is a battle between the current top two in the league with Sion the in-form side in the country. Their 3-2 win against the Glens last week dealt a huge blow to the East Belfast side’s title ambitions, following on from a 1-1 home draw against Cliftonville.

The two sides are currently tied on 32 points but Sion have played one game fewer but are second in the standings due to having an inferior goal difference of seven, meaning that this game has particular significance.

A defeat for either coupled with a win for Linfield would leave them with a massive task of winning this season’s title while a draw would also favour the Blues.

The league fixture in Strabane between the sides earlier in the campaign ended 2-2 while the Glens won their League Cup final clash 2-0 back in June.