Matchday 22 of the Sports Direct Premiership brings the traditional 'Big Two' Boxing Day derby game, with Glentoran our visitors to Windsor Park (3pm k.o. all-ticket). The teams have gone head-to-head on 3 occasions already this season, with Linfield victorious at home (SDP 2-0) and away (BMcLC 2-1). It was, however, to be Glentoran's night at The Oval at the start of December (SDP 4-0). 

It has been a challenging first season in charge in East Belfast for manager Warren Feeney. After a promising start, The Glens have seen their hopes of league success fade, although his side do have some silverware in their sights with the upcoming Co. Antrim Shield Final with Larne. The Oval outfit come to Windsor Park on the back of an away day win at Dungannon Swifts (2-1), elevating them to 4th spot in the table. 

Linfield ensured they would spend Christmas at the top of the table after a hard fought 2-1 win over Coleraine at a blustery Windsor Park. The Blues, in difficult conditions, rolled up their sleeves over a physical 90 minutes, digging deep to take all 3 points. A welcome 4th consecutive win for The Blues going into a string of difficult games. 

There is always an elevated air of excitement and anticipation ahead of the Boxing Day derby game – it is a game when bragging rights become almost as important as points to supporters! The ante has certainly been raised with match ticket sales reaching sell out levels, and a high-octane game is promised. 

The old 'form book goes out the window' cliche often rings true, but hopefully Linfield are on the right side of the result this time. 


By Ken Garrett.