Friday, 06 September 2019
It's quickly becoming one of the most unpredictable leagues to call - we look ahead to what may happen in this week's Bluefin Sport Championship in our preview.
Ballinamallard United v Newry City (venue: Ferney Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Harry McConkey’s Ballinamallard United side stretched their unbeaten streak in the Bluefin Sport Championship to four games with last Saturday’s 2-0 win over HW Welders at home. It currently leaves the County Fermanagh side fourth in the table – they have also added the services of Institute striker Callum Moorehead in the last week to bolster their attack.
For Newry, their Premiership hangover continues, as Darren Mullen’s side have picked up only one win in their first six games back in the second tier. They start the weekend in tenth place, just a point above the relegation spots but signs of life at the border club were shown last week, when they came from two goals down to claim a point in the last quarter hour of their clash with Knockbreda.
Ballyclare Comrades v PSNI (venue: Dixon Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Paul Harbinson takes the reigns of Ballyclare Comrades on his own for the first time since the departure of Stephen Hughes last weekend. The capitulation to Loughgall on Friday evening which unfolded as the Comrades blew a four goal lead was the final straw for Hughes, who resigned from his post as manager. The first task for Harbinson is shoring up a leaky defence which has conceded 15 goals in their last three games, but they will be without the suspended Curtis Woods for this one.
After a difficult start to the season, Sammy McFadden’s PSNI team have moved out of the drop zone following their back-to-back league wins in the last fortnight, defeating Dergview last Saturday thanks to two goals from Tony Tumelty.
Dergview v Ards (venue: Darragh Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Two former Northern Ireland international team mates go head to head but It’s still just not happening on the pitch for Ivan Sproule’s Dergview after another defeat last weekend, dropping three points to PSNI means the Castlederg men are only now saved from the foot of the table on goal difference, having not won in their last four Championship outings.
Warren Feeney’s Ards are still in the mix for promotion but are still four points behind leaders Dundela going into Saturday’s round of fixtures. The Count Down are fifth after a disappointing defeat to Portadown last Friday evening, as their lead through Craig McMillen was completely undone in the second half against Portadown, eventually losing 4-2.
Knockbreda v HW Welders (venue: Breda Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Lee Forsythe stopped the rut of five consecutive defeats with the draw last weekend with the draw against Newry City. It wasn’t enough to take Knockbreda off the bottom of the table though as two late goals from Newry prevented ‘Breda securing their first win since the opening game of the season.
The Welders make the short journey across East Belfast for this city derby, they will be eager to prevent a third straight league defeat after last weekend after their 2-0 loss to Ballinamallard United. New signing Conor Curran made the move from PSNI and could be in line to make a debut for Colin McIlwaine’s side on Saturday.
Portadown v Dundela (venue: Shamrock Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The Ports have conceded the fewest goals in the Championship this season and their superb second half showing against Ards last Friday will give the long suffering Portadown fans hope that this season will be a successful one at Shamrock Park.
Top of the table Dundela have started the season in fine form and are one of only two unbeaten sides in the division so far this season but face arguably their toughest test to date with the trip to Portadown. Bryan McCarroll’s side defeated Queens University last weekend, 3-1 with goals from Eoin Kane, Carl McComb and Tiarnan McNicholl.
Queens University v Loughall (venue: The Dub; kick-off: 3pm)
Despite defeat to leaders Dundela last Saturday, Peter Thompson’s students will be happy with how they adapted to life in the Bluefin Sport Championship. Three wins from six games have opened up a five point cushion from the relegation zone going into this game against one of the early front runners at the Dub.
Nathaniel Ferris was named the Football Writers’ Championship Player of the Month for August after a stellar month for the Lakesiders with six goals in five league games. Dean Smith’s side start the gameweek in second place in the table after a stunning comeback last Friday night Ballyclare Comrades, scoring five second half goals to win 5-4.