Linfield return to action after the international break for Matchday 17 of The Sports Direct Premiership, welcoming Ballymena United FC to Windsor Park (3pm k.o. all-ticket). The teams met earlier in the season at Ballymena Showgrounds with The Blues winning 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Chris McKee.
It’s Ballymena’s second visit of the week to Belfast after a heavy 0-5 defeat to Glentoran at The Oval. It has been a challenging season for The Sky Blues and Manager Jim Ervin will be frustrated by a lack of consistency from his side.
Finding the net has been an Achilles Heel for The Braidmen this season with a poor return of just 11 goals from 17 league games. A major blow for the team has been the recent loss of skipper Colin Coates who suffered an horrific season-ending knee injury.
Last time out Linfield's 10 game winning run came to a disappointing end in the top of the table clash with Larne.
After a nervy start, both teams settled down and The Blues forged ahead with a top-drawer finish from Joel Cooper. However, it was to be Larne's day as they ran out 2-1 winners in an entertaining game that was a great advertisement for the Premiership.
Victory on Saturday must be the target to regain pole position in the table. David Healy and his players will expect to face a side determined to reignite their battle for survival.
Hopefully The Blues can slip back into top gear with a quick return to winning ways.
By Ken Garrett.