Cliftonville aim to continue 100% start with win over Portadown

Cliftonville take on Portadown at Solitude

Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin expects to see his side continue their 100% start to the defence of the Irish Premiership crown on Friday night.

The Reds have won all three of their matches so far 4-2 and are already three points clear the the top of the table before their game with Portadown.

"Given that we are at home I would be hopeful of the three points but it is not going to be easy," said Breslin.

"We need to be tuned in because we want to maintain our good home record."

Portadown have suffered recent injuries blows with defenders Ross Redman and Keith O'Hara among those sidelined.

But Breslin added: ""They still have a strong squad. In Gary Twigg and Kevin Braniff they have players who can hurt you.

"We need to up our game from Monday night's League Cup win over H&W Welders. This is going to be a difficult game."

Portadown are unbeaten in the league this season, their 2-0 home win over Ards last weekend coming after draws against Linfield and Coleraine.

Dungannon, second in the table on goal difference ahead of Ballymena, face a tricky Mid-Ulster derby against Glenavon at Stangmore Park.

"They signed some good players over the summer and have started well," Swifts boss Darren Murphy said of Friday's opponents.

"Their manager Gary Hamilton has brought in a lot of quality and I am sure he is looking to push for a place in the top six of the league.

"It is a derby game and I want to see my players bounce back from defeat at Ballymena last Saturday."

Ballymena will be aiming to make it three wins on the trot as they face top flight new boys Ards at Dixon Park.

Last season's Championship One winners have put in some decent performances, but find themselves at the bottom of the table without a point after three fixtures.

Coleraine, who have started their Premiership campaign with three draws, are at home to Crusaders who bagged their first points by beating Linfield at Seaview last Saturday.

Ballinamallard, now in their second term in the top flight of the Irish League, are at home to Warrenpoint who are just weeks into their first.

"We have had them watched recently but we know them well from the Championship," said Ballinamallard manager Whitey Anderson.

"They are a hard-working side but also have players of quality, and you can be sure they will not come and lie down at Ferney Park. It will be a battle."

Friday's Irish Premiership fixtures

Ards v Ballymena United

Cliftonville v Portadown

Coleraine v Crusaders

Dungannon Swifts v Glenavon

Ballinamallard United v Warrenpoint Town

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