Cliftonville and Glenavon out to end losing streaks
Cliftonville host Glenavon this afternoon and both sides have the chance to extend their winning league form to three games on the trot. Paddy McLaughlin's side are coming into this clash on the back of two recent wins over Coleraine and Carrick Rangers.
Goals from Ryan Hale (2), Ryan Curran and Joe Gormley saw the Reds overcome Coleraine away from home while Cuuran's 77th minute penalty made all the difference the last day out.
Curran has been in fine form in front of the posts this season and the 29-year-old has bagged seven goals in 11 outings. Cliftonville's home record will count for something this afternoon as well as they'll be eager to maintain their unbeaten run.
Only Crusaders came away from Solitude with anything to show for their efforts, and that was a goalless draw almost a month ago.
Glenavon have had two good wins in their last two outings, beating Ballymena United who sit just below them and Carrick Rangers who hold the position directly above them.
A Jack Malone goal from the penalty spot was the decisive score against Ballymena, as Gary Hamilton's side pulled off a 3-2 triumph, coming from 1-0 to score three goals after the half time break.
They also enjoyed a 4-2 victory recently over Carrick Rangers, with two goals from Jack Malone and Matthew Snoddy coming inside the final ten minutes.
Those two wins will offer a confidence boost, and they'll be out to avenge their 1-0 defeat to Cliftonville back in September.
Ronan Hale netted late on that evening to gift the Reds an important three-points and that's currently the margin they trail table toppers Glentoran by.
The league leaders rest two points ahead of their nearest challengers, Crusaders and Larne and have gone ten games unbeaten so far.
Glentoran only dropped points on the first day of the season with a 0-0 draw away to Larne but have been in top form since. They face a struggling Dungannon Swifts side that are currently second from bottom, three points clear of Portadown.
The Swifts form makes for miserable reading as they picked up their one and only win of the season back in September, defeating Portadown thanks to goals from Rhyss Campbell and Ryan Mayse.
They also picked up a point at home to Ballymena United when the sides played out an even 1-1 draw with Michael O'Connor netting for the hosts.
Portadown are still searching for their first win of the campaign, and they'll get another chance to do that today as they take on Linfield.
Niall Currie's men have accumulated just one point so far, coming from their 1-1 stalemate with Glenavon when Oisin Conaty's goal earned them a share of the spoils.
Linfield's last few performances have been patchy, as they've won two of their last five outings and sit sixth in the table. They enjoyed a 2-0 win over Newry the last day out, with Robbie McDaid and Joel Cooper firing home the goals.
Carrick Rangers invite Coleraine to Loughview Leisure Arena today in the hope of halting their current losing streak. Stuart King's charges lost to both Cliftonville and Glenavon in their last two league outings and lost to Coleraine when the sides clashed back in August.
The league's top scorer Matthew Shevlin was on fire that afternoon and his hattrick of goals helped seal an important 4-2 victory for Oran Kearney's team. That was one of six wins for the Lilywhites, and they'll be hoping to add to that in today's fixture.