Irish League previews
CARRICK RANGERS v BALLYMENA UNITED
Carrick's last league victory was September 12 against Ballinamallard, but the Taylor’s Avenue side will be hoping that last week’s 1-1 draw with Linfield will relaunch their season. The Braid men are still leaking goals (30), but ended a three-match losing streak with a win over Dungannon Swifts last week.
Odds: H:13/10 D:5/2 A:13/8
CLIFTONVILLE v GLENAVON
The Reds defence will be glad to know they won’t be facing Eoin ‘Skinner’ Bradley on Saturday as he’s on holidays, but the Lurgan Blues are not short of striking options, with new signing Daniel Kearns a major plus. Cliftonville’s new attacker Paul George is available for the first time, while Chris Curran is expected to shake off a knee problem that ruled him out of Tuesday night’s 3-1 Co Antrim Shield defeat to Linfield.
Odds: H: 10/11 D:5/2 A:12/5
DUNGANNON SWIFTS v LINFIELD
Rodney McAree takes charge of his first Premiership game as Dungannon Swifts boss and it couldn’t be any tougher. McAree, who welcomes back Jamie Glackin, will be hoping there will be a few tired limbs among the Blues ranks following their extra-time win over Cliftonville in the Co Antrim Shield. The Swifts carry an attacking threat and might nick a share of the spoils as McAree is still in the honeymoon period
Odds: H: 5/1 D: 7/2 A: 4/11
GLENTORAN v COLERAINE
Oran Kearney continues to work near-miracles with the Bannsiders. They are unbeaten in their last six league games and will fancy taking something from Saturday’s trip to managerless Glentoran. Roy Coyle is taking the reins on an interim basis and the Glens will be buoyed by their late winner against Warrenpoint last weekend.
Odds: H: 7/5 D: 23/10 A: 13/8
PORTADOWN v CRUSADERS
The odds on a draw (3/1) says all you need to know about Portadown’s form of late. They’ve lost their last two games – the 3-0 home defeat to Ballinamallard United, in particular, is the one that should have alarm bells ringing around Shamrock Park. After a ropey start to their title defence, the Crues have found their mojo.
Odds: H: 7/2 D: 3/1 A: 4/7