With only six games until the split things really are heating up in this years race for the title and relegation battle. Two big games come at the top of the table and the bottom. Linfield host Ballymena at Windsor Park and at the foot of the table Ards face fellow strugglers Newry City.
Our Friday night game this weekend comes at Seaview where the Crues host Glenavon. Crusaders title hopes are just not over yet. They were very impressive in a 4-2 victory over Coleraine last weekend. Stephen Baxter will be rallying his troops to keep winning games of football to try and reel in Ballymena and Linfield.
Gary Hamilton’s side produced a late snatch and grab at the Oval on Monday night past. Hamilton himself scored as Glenavon defeated the Glens 2-1. The Lurgan Blues had been stuck in a patch of poor form but they will be desperate to try and put a run of results together in the latter part of the season.
What a vital game this may turn out to be at the foot of the table! Ards have just appointed new boss Warren Feeney former manager of Linfield, Newport County. What a job Warren has on his hands to try and keep Ards in the Premiership. The basement club are really struggling for goals and were defeated at home last week by Institute 3-0. Feeney helped Newport avoid relegation in 2016 but I think he needs a miracle this time!
Like Ards, Newry are also struggling for any sort of form. The Co. Down side have not win in 11 matches and sit in second bottom just three points above Ards. This is a tough one to call but giving the appointment of Feeney I can maybe see Ards nicking it!
The Bannsiders host Glentoran this Saturday to the Ballycastle Road. Rodney McAree’s side have suffered two defeats in a row the past two weeks and will be aiming to get back on track here. Coleraine have a fantastic record against the Glens, Glentoran have not defeated Coleraine since May 2016. The North Coast side will be aiming to cement their European play-off spot before the split.
Glentoran suffered a 2-1 defeat to Glenavon on Monday night past. A game that they were in control of until some shambolic defending. The East Belfast side now sit in ninth spot and will be desperate to climb the table as much they can before the Premiership split.
The Swifts travel to the North West this weekend to face Institute. Stute were very impressive in their 3-0 victory over Ards last weekend and that is the type of games were three points are vital! This has the makings of a great game at the Brandywell as both sides try and play an attractive brand of football.
Kris Lindsay’s Dungannon are in a brilliant spell of form. With only one defeat in their last nine games they have really turned the corner. The last time these two sides met it was Dungannon who came out on top with a 2-1 victory. The Co. Tyrone men will be without their influential skipper Christopher Hegerty who has been sidelined for 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury.
Its first vs second this weekend at Windsor Park. Both sides fresh off the back of playing each other last weekend in the League Cup final where Linfield came out on top. The Blues have a chance to pull nine points clear of Ballymena if they can win the game on Saturday. This would be a huge statement in the title race. They have already defeated Ballymena three times this year at Windsor and how sweet a forth time would be giving the circumstances.
DJ’s Sky Blues will be coming to Windsor hurt after last weekends defeat. But I have no doubt Mr Jeffrey will have revenge on his mind. Come three o’clock Saturday is players will be prepared and busting to go. If Ballymena can defeat Linfield that would leave them three points behind the blues with a game in hand. The title race will well and truly be on! This will no doubt be a feisty affair again after some of the challenges in last weekends game.
A tough ask at Milltown this Saturday for the Point. They came very close to defeating Dungannon last weekend but could not hold on and ended up loosing the game 4-3. Stephen McDonnell’s side have already defeated the Reds at home this season back in September and will be aiming to do so again.
Paddy McLaughlin will take charge of his second games as Cliftonville manager. He got off to a good start defeating Newry 1-0. Surprisingly keeping a clean sheet! He will be aiming for his side to try and climb the table with some consistent performances and results. This is a fixture I can see Cliftonville winning comfortably.