Action from Cliftonville v Glentoran last season (c) Presseye


Whilst all eyes may be on tonight’s live BBC Two game, there’s plenty of other action in the Danske Bank Premiership starting tonight as we preview all the games.

Friday 4 October

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

Glentoran made announced the latest new arrival at The Oval on Thursday night as midfielder Navid Nasseri joins the club having spent last season at Gillingham. The move follows Glentoran’s 5-2 defeat to Crusaders last Saturday which currently leaves the Glens grasping hold of their place in the top six on goal difference. Defender Willie Garrett is suspended for the visit of the Reds.

Cliftonville are also looking to bounce back from defeat last weekend, Reds boss Paddy McLaughlin could only watch on as his side surrendered a first half lead at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Despite defeat the Reds stay third going into Friday night’s game, which sees a first meeting between the sides since the Europa League Playoff final in May, in which Cliftonville were victorious in securing passage into European football.

Larne v Glenavon (venue: Inver Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)

Both these sides hold ambitions of finishing in the top six come the end of the season, but at the minute both clubs are residing in the lower half of the Danske Bank Premiership table. It’s been back-to-back scoreless draws for Tiernan Lynch’s resolute Larne side – the latest stalemate came at Coleraine last Saturday. Conor Devlin is likely to continue in goals for the Invermen as Conor Mitchell sits out the final game of his suspension.

This game can’t come soon enough for Gary Hamilton as he aims to put to bed the misery of last week’s seven goal mauling by Linfield at Windsor Park. Having looked to have turned a corner the previous week against Ballymena United, the Lurgan Blues came unstuck against the reigning Champions. Seamus Sharkey and Robbie Norton are still out injured for Glenavon whilst veteran Sammy Clingan is unlikely to feature.

Saturday 5 October

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

Niall Currie was disappointed with the officials last week, as his side slipped to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park. Carrick must pick themselves up again for the visit of second placed Coleraine at the games keep coming thick and fast on their return to the Danske Bank Premiership this season. Rangers start the weekend in tenth place and will be eager to pick up points at home to move the club away from the relegation zone.

Another draw for Oran Kearney’s side last week against Larne, it was their fifth league stalemate of the season – but keeps the Bannsiders’ unbeaten streak intact as they hope to maintain the division’s only unbeaten start to the campaign. Coleraine came out on top the last time these clubs met back in March 2018 – winning 3-2 en route to finishing as runners-up in the Danske Bank Premiership that season.

Institute v Ballymena United (venue: Brandywell Stadium; kick-off: 3pm)

Sean Connor masterminded Institute’s first win of the season against Warrenpoint Town last week and that morale boosting three points could be enough to kick start the season for the struggling North West side. They come up against a club that they failed to pick up a single point against in the three games last season and haven’t defeated in the league since November 2008.

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey once again goes into this game without his three recognised frontmen of Adam Lecky, Cathair Friel and Aaron Burns all out through injury. The Sky Blues rallied in the second half of their game against Cliftonville and scored twice to claim a vital three points which keeps them in fifth place in the Premiership table.

Warrenpoint Town v Dungannon Swifts (venue: Milltown; kick-off: 3pm)

Warrenpoint Town are hosting a community fun day at Milltown on Saturday and there would be no better time for the club to pick up their first points of a difficult season to date. Stephen McDonnell’s side have lost all eight of their league games to date this season and are rooted to the bottom of the table – their latest loss was arguably the most important, as relegation rivals Institute opened up a four point gap as they came out on top at the Brandywell last week.

The Swifts returned to winning ways last Saturday against Carrick Rangers and in turn moved back to seventh place in the table, only missing out on the top six by goal difference. It was a first win in over a month in the Premiership for Dungannon Swifts as they go into Saturday’s game having lost the last meeting between these two sides 5-3 back in April.