Action from Glenavon v Coleraine last season (c) Presseye

DANSKE BANK PREMIERSHIP: MATCHDAY 5 PREVIEW

Four fixtures in the Danske Bank Premiership this weekend including a meeting of the top two at Seaview, we preview all the action.

Friday 30 August 2019

Carrick Rangers v Ballymena United (venue: Belfast Loughshore Arena; kick-off: 7.45pm)

Niall Curries’ side will look to put their midweek cup exit to third tier Bangor out of their players’ minds as they look ahead to tonight’s clash with Ballymena United. There’s an added spice to the game with a number of former Sky Blues in the current ranks of the East

Ballymena United bounced back from their stoppage time defeat to Glentoran with comfortable progression in the League Cup on Tuesday against Newington at the Showgrounds. David Jeffrey moved to add former Linfield and Coleraine forward Aaron Burns to his panel as well ahead of the close of the transfer window, he could be in line to make his debut for the Braidmen as Adam Lecky’s return from injury was hampered with a further knock in the Newington win.

Glenavon v Coleraine (venue: Mourneview Park; kick-off: 8pm)

The Lurgan Blues will be aiming to build on their victory over Portstewart this week to ignite a season which just hasn’t found a gear yet for Gary Hamilton’s men. Defeat to Dungannon Swifts last Saturday leaves Glenavon with just four points and in eighth place in the table at this early stage of the campaign.

Coleraine have had a busy week as Oran Kearney continues to stamp his mark on his return to the club with a trio of signings in a week that included a 4-0 League Cup victory over Annagh United at the Showgrounds. In come Aaron Jarvis and Martin Gallagher from Institute as well as striker Nedas Maciulaitis from Annagh, whilst defender Graeme Crown has moved to ‘Stute. Kearney welcomes James McLaughlin back from suspension for the trip to Lurgan.

Saturday 31 August 2019

Crusaders v Dungannon Swifts (venue: Seaview; kick-off: 3pm)

It’s an unlikely top two clash at Seaview, but the Premiership’s two in form sides are only separated by goal difference going into the weekend. Stephen Baxter’s men weren’t in League Cup action in midweek, owing to the withdrawl of Lurgan Celtic – their 100% record in the league came to an end courtesy of a resolute Larne performance at Seaview last Saturday.

Kris Lindsay’s Swifts enjoyed a week with two wins (against Glenavon in the league and Dergview in the League Cup) coupled with the capture of two new signings ahead of Saturday’s transfer window closing. Ross Redman joins on loan from Glentoran for the remainder of the season, whilst Sean Noble join having most recently been at Ards.

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

Steven McDonnell’s Warrenpoint are the only side in the Danske Bank Premiership not to get off the mark this term. Three defeats in three games in the league was also compounded with defeat to HW Welders in the League Cup on Tuesday evening. McDonnell will take comfort from the same fixture early last season, when an unexpected late victory of Cliftonville kick started their season at Milltown.

An emotional week at the North Belfast club following the funeral of Tommy Breslin on Tuesday, they went out an won the same evening against Moyola Park in the League Cup but it is now back to league matters for Paddy McLaughlin’s men. The Reds have the chance to move into the top two if results go their way, after they won 1-0 at Carrick Rangers last time out in the Premiership.