There’s a quick turnaround for Linfield, Matchday 24 of the Sports Direct Premiership taking David Healy’s side to Seaview to face Crusaders in a rearranged fixture. (7.45pm k.o. all-ticket). 

The only previous meeting between the teams this season ended in a 2-0 win for The Blues at Windsor Park in September.

Crusaders have endured a frustrating season, beginning with a promising run in Europe and an unbeaten run in the first 6 league games. However, following a defeat to derby rivals Cliftonville at Seaview, their challenge for the Gibson Cup has gradually fizzled out. In their last outing, the Shore Road outfit moved into 4th spot in the table with a 2-0 win over 10-man Carrick Rangers at Seaview. 

Linfield ensured they would welcome in the New Year in pole position after honours were shared with Larne at Inver Park in a 1-1 draw. After a slow start, The Blues found themselves a goal down before a Matthew Fitzpatrick header opened the game up. Chances came and went for both teams as they pushed for a winner and, ultimately, both managers were probably satisfied with a point.

Tuesday night's visit to North Belfast presents Linfield with an opportunity to move 4 points clear at the top of the Premiership table. David Healy and his players, though, will be anticipating a tough, physical, game against a combative Crusaders side. 


By Ken Garrett.