Friday, 22 February 2019
The top two and the bottom both meet in a hugely important afternoon of Danske Bank Premiership action tomorrow, we preview all the games.
Ards v Newry City (venue: Clandeboye Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The bottom two clubs meet in North Down for a make or break clash for either side. New Ards boss Warren Feeney takes to the dugout for the first time since his appointment earlier this week as he looks to inject some life back into the Premiership’s bottom club. They could feasibly leap-frog Newry and move off the foot of the table with a win, but with seven consecutive defeats in all competitions, confidence will be low in the Ards camp.
Newry also go into this crunch game low on confidence, having also scored the fewest goals in the Premiership this season with 20 goals in 28 games and without a victory in 11 games. Both sides have picked up a win apiece in the two meetings so far this season with only three points the difference at the bottom of the division.
Coleraine v Glentoran (venue: Coleraine Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)
The Bannsiders welcome Glentoran to the Showgrounds as they aim to keep up their challenge for a top four berth come the end of the season. Back-to-back defeats against Linfield and then Crusaders have been a set back in recent weeks for Rodney McAree but with an Irish Cup quarter-final against Larne to look forward to next week, there is plenty of life left in the North West club. Midfielder Dylan Davidson could feature after making the move between these two clubs during the January window.
Glentoran were defeated on Monday night in front of the Sky Sports cameras against Glenavon, surrendering their slender lead, to eventually lose 2-1. It was the 13th league defeat of the season for Gary Smyth’s side as the race for the important seventh place playoff spot starts to heat up with four teams all in the mix.
Institute v Dungannon Swifts (venue: Brandywell Stadium; kick-off: 3pm)
The long running Michael McCrudden saga has finally come to an end this week as the Institute captain and leading goalscorer has made an immediate switch to neighbours Derry City. Kevin Doherty remains in interim control of ‘Stute who welcome Dungannon Swifts to the Brandywell on Saturday. Only a point separates these two sides, but whilst the home side trail Dungannon by a single point – they still have a game in hand in the race for seventh place.
Swifts manager Kris Lindsay will be delighted with his side’s form as they have risen to seventh place after seven wins and a draw from their last nine games in all competitions. The Tyrone side fought back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 in their most recent outing against Warrenpoint Town last weekend and will also take comfort from their 2-1 win over Institute back in November going into this game – two goals from Paul McElroy sealed the points that day.
Linfield v Ballymena United (venue: Windsor Park; kick-off: 3pm)
The top two sides in the Danske Bank Premiership meet once again just seven days after clashing in a titanic encounter in the BetMcLean League Cup final. That game was separated by a single Andy Waterworth goal as the Blues lifted their first League Cup since 2008. This game is will be crucial in the final destination of the Gibson Cup, as with six points currently separating the sides, a win for David Healy’s men could be enough to put one hand on the famous trophy.
Sky Blues’ boss David Jeffrey will be hurting after last week’s cup final defeat and keen to make amends with victory in the league as the Braidmen chase down a first ever league title. The meetings to date in the Danske Bank Premiership have been shared with a win apiece.
Warrenpoint Town v Cliftonville (venue: Q Radio Arena; kick-off: 3pm)
The ‘Point stunned Cliftonville the last time the two sides met at Milltown back in September – two dramatic late goals in stoppage seen Stephen McDonnell’s men come from behind the grab all three points against the Reds. The County Down side have been out of form in recent weeks, losing their last two league outings to Dungannon Swifts and Glentoran.
Sixth placed Cliftonville will continue their revolution under new boss Paddy McLaughlin on Saturday, the Reds weren’t in action last week but got the new manager’s reign off to a winning start two weeks ago against Newry City.
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