Jeffrey calls on Linfield to focus on beating Ballymena

Linfield boss David Jeffrey has warned his players not to get caught up in the fuss surrounding Glenn Ferguson's first match as manager of Ballymena United.

The former Blues striker, a goalscoring legend at Windsor Park, comes up against his old club in Saturday's Premiership clash at the Showgrounds.

"We need to focus on our job and bear in mind Ballymena is a tough place to get points at," said Jeffrey.

Linfield's Jamie Mulgrew misses the match after sustaining a heel injury.

Midfielder Mulgrew limped out of last weekend's 2-0 home win over Glenavon.

Ferguson, embarking on his first management role after acting as coach at Lisburn Distillery, described Ballymena as a sleeping giant.

"I hope to progress the club. The first thing is to consolidate and make sure we do not get dragged into a relegation battle," said Ferguson.

"It is a learning curve but we want to progress the club and maybe get to a final and challenge for some silverware."

Portadown aim for a third Premiership win over Glentoran when they visit the Oval on Saturday.

Ronnie McFall's men won 2-0 there just four weeks ago, having earlier beaten the Glens 2-1 at Shamrock Park.

The Ports expect to have defender Chris Ramsey back after he missed Monday's home defeat by Crusaders because of a tooth abscess.

Midfielder Sean Mackle pulled up during the warm-up for that game with an ongoing hamstring problem and is considered doubtful, while striker Matthew Tipton is hoping to have recovered from a rib injury.

Glentoran's Boxing Day win over Linfield is their only victory from the last six league matches.

The big basement battle sees the bottom two, Glenavon and Lisburn Distillery, clash at Mourneview Park.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton is eligible to make his first appearance as a player since returning to the Lurgan club who are also boosted by the loan signing of Linfield pair Brian McCaul and Kris Lindsay.

Distillery full-back Pat McShane is suspended for picking up five bookings this season.

Carrick, still seeking their first home win of the league campaign, take on Coleraine at Seaview.

Follow all Saturday's Premiership action on Radio Ulster's Sportsound, starting from 1400 GMT.

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