On Saturday Linfield are in Clearer Water Irish Cup action against visitors Ballymena Utd at Windsor Park (3pm k.o. all-ticket). It’s the 6th Round of the competition, and in the last round Linfield and Ballymena both defeated lower league opposition, Warrenpoint Town (4-2) and Queen's University (4-0) respectively. 

Jim Ervin’s side have endured a challenging season and their Achilles heel has been a lack of firepower that makes them the lowest scoring team in the Sports Direct Premiership. A huge blow has been the loss of veteran defender Colin Coates to injury, and the club has been active in the transfer market during January with the signing of defender Brendan Barr and striker Calvin McCurry. 

Last time out Linfield surrendered their long unbeaten record with a disappointing 1-2 home defeat to Dungannon Swifts, although The Blues remain in pole position in the table. 

David Healy MBE will demand a reaction from his players on Saturday, while Ballymena Utd will be looking to upset the odds to ignite their season. For Linfield, a return to winning ways is essential.


By Ken Garrett.