PREVIEW: CRUSADERS v LINFIELD (LIVE ON BBC TWO NI)

BBC Two NI’s coverage of the Danske Bank Premiership kicks off tonight as Crusaders host champions Linfield at Seaview (kick-off: 7.45pm)

Stephen Baxter and David Healy lock horns again in another huge meeting of the league’s two most successful teams in recent years. Both of these city clubs will have eyes on the Gibson Cup and the first meeting of the season could prove crucial come the business end of the season.

Healy picked up the Football Writers’ Manager of the Month award this week as his side hit form last Saturday with an impressive 7-0 win over Glenavon at Windsor Park.

Crusaders also go into this game off a big win, they defeated Glentoran 5-2 at Seaview last Saturday – the North Belfast side have scored more goals than any team in the division to date.

Recent Form

Both these clubs come into the match in the sort of form that has highlighted both Linfield and Crusaders as serious title contenders. Crusaders have won seven of their nine games to date in the Premiership to establish themselves as the front runners at the top of the table, whilst Linfield are still playing catch-up following their summer Europa League heroics – having played three games less than their opponents but boast a similar record with only one defeat from their opening six games.

Last meetings

It was honours even the last time these two clubs met in April, as the stalemate sent Linfield one step closer to lifting the Gibson Cup last season. Linfield won three of the four league meetings last season and remained undefeated in the Premiership – however the Crues got the better of David Healy in the cup competitions – defeating Linfield in both the Irish Cup and County Antrim Shield.

Match Officials

Arnold Hunter is the referee for this live game with David Anderson and Ryan Kelsey as assistant referees on the line. Evan Boyce is the fourth official.

Admission

Tickets are still available for this match (click here), admission will be by pay at the gate, with adults at £12 and concession at £8.

Watch live

The live on BBC Two NI and the BBC Sport website from 7.30pm tonight.

Tags:  Crusaders  Linfield