Portadown defender Luke Wilson pictured with Alyn Spratt of Bluefin Sport (c) Presseye

BLUEFIN SPORT CHAMPIONSHIP: MATCHDAY 6 PREVIEW

There’s another big weekend of Bluefin Sport Championship fixtures over the next two days, we look ahead to all the action in our gameweek preview.

Friday 30 August 2019

Ards v Portadown (venue: Bangor Fuels Arena; kick-off: 7.45pm)

Two sides who would fancy being in the promotion mix meet in Bangor on Friday evening, with the opportunity of possibly going top of the table, albeit for what may only be a few hours. Warren Feeney’s season has ebbed and flowed as Michael McLellan’s late winner at Knockbreda last Saturday which took his side into fourth in the table was followed up by a dismal League Cup defeat to third-tier Limavady United in midweek.

The Ports suffered a similar fate in the League Cup on Tuesday, losing out to Dollingstown in a shock upset at Shamrock Park. However, Matthew Tipton will now be focused on the task in hand of taking his side back into the Premiership and a win on the road against Ards will be vitally important to that, he will be looking to make it three successive wins in the Championship after recent victories over Knockbreda and then HW Welders last Saturday.

Ballyclare Comrades v Loughgall (venue: Dixon Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)

It’s been a week to forget for Ballyclare Comrades – they’ve conceded ten goals in two games, both heavy defeats with the latter to Premiership side Glentoran resulting in an early exit from the League Cup. Stephen Hughes will be without full-back Curtis Woods for this clash against Loughgall but Hughes could call on Polish striker Lukasz Adamczyk signed this week after previously playing at Carrick Rangers.

Loughgall remain in second but only a single goal separates them from leaders Dundela following last Saturday’s scoreless stalemate between the top two. Like their opponents this Friday evening, they also suffered a second round exit in the League Cup – to fellow Championship side Newry City by a single goal. Dean Smith’s side will be keen to take advantage of going top of the tree on Friday night with Dundela not playing until the following day.

Saturday 31 August 2019

Dundela v Queens University (venue: Wilgar Park; kick-off: 3pm)

Leaders Dundela start the weekend as Championship leaders going into this all Championship clash against. New signing Ross Holden marked his debut with a goal in the midweek League Cup rout over Tobermore United, the former Crusaders player was one of six goalscorers as the Duns comfortably progressed to the next round of the Cup, that result came off the back of their scoreless draw with second placed Loughgall last Saturday.

Peter Thompson’s Queens University have taken to senior football with ease with the majority of the squad that won promotion from the Premier Intermediate League last season. The Students have won three of their first five league games and have enjoyed the luxury of a midweek break going into this game, they enjoyed their latest Championship victory last Saturday, with goals from Ben Mulgrew and Philip Traynor enough to defeat Dergview.

HW Welders v Ballinamallard United (venue: Tillysburn Park; kick-off: 3pm)

Matthew Ferguson is in line to make a surprise return to Tillysburn Park from Glenavon, having only made the move to Mourneview Park earlier this summer. The Welders’ inconsistent form was evident in the past week as they initially lost to Portadown last Saturday in the league but followed that up with a shock win over Premiership opponents Warrenpoint Town on Tuesday in the League Cup.

The Mallards have gone three games unbeaten in the Championship and will have a week’s break to prepare for the trip to East Belfast this Saturday. The evergreen Ryan Campbell bagged a hat-trick in their last outing against Ballyclare Comrades last Saturday, in a comfortable 5-0 win for Harry McConkey’s side. The last time these two sides met was back in March with Ballinamallard winning 3-0 at Ferney Park.

Newry City v Knockbreda (venue: Newry Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)

Only a point separates Newry City and visiting Knockbreda at the wrong end of the Bluefin Sport Championship table. It’s been a mixed bag for Darren Mullen as he looks to instill the confidence that took Newry to promotion last time they competed in this division, however the defeat to bottom placed PSNI on Saturday was a big blow to the promotion push. They will take confidence from the 1-0 win over fellow Championship side Loughgall in the League Cup on Tuesday, thanks to Darren King’s first half goal.

Lee Forsythe’s Knockbreda are badly out of form following four straight defeats leaving the East Belfast club perilously close to the bottom of the table, prevented only by goal difference. ‘Breda held promotion challenging Ards until the 86th minute last week, but came away with nothing for their efforts following Michael McLellan’s late winner for the visitors.

PSNI v Dergview (venue: The Dub; kick-off: 3pm)

PSNI finally got their first points of the season last weekend following their 2-1 win over Newry City away from home. Sammy McFadden’s side could move off the bottom of the table with a win against Dergview at the Dub on Saturday, they will be encouraged by the performance on Tuesday night as they narrowly lost out to Premiership side Institute in the second round of the League Cup.

Ivan Sproule will be hoping to kick start his team’s season with the trip to face the division’s bottom side in Belfast on Saturday. Despite finishing last season in fine form and potentially being billed as the Championship’s surprise package for this season, the Castlederg men have only picked up one point from their last three games – losing to newly promoted Queens University last week.