Peter Thompson and Mark Haughey ruled out for Linfield

Linfield physio Terry Hayes with striker Peter Thompson
Linfield physio Terry Hayes with striker Peter Thompson

Irish Premiership leaders Linfield are without hamstring injury victims Peter Thompson and Mark Haughey for their trip to Ballymena United on Saturday.

Philip Lowry is likely to play after ovecoming a similar complaint but Kyle McVey is doubtful with a head wound sustained against Crusaders last week.

Midfielder Aaron Burns is set to make his 100th appearance for the Blues.

Ballymena welcome Johnny Taylor, Shane Dolan and Gavin Taggart back after suspension for the Showgrounds clash.

Forward Michael McLellan has been struggling with a bout of sickness but should be available for the 10th-placed Sky Blues.

Meanwhile Glentoran lie just one point behind defending champions Cliftonville ahead of their meeting at the Oval.

The Glens must plan without Johnny Addis, who has an ankle complaint, and David Scullion, who is suffering from a hamstring problem.

Manager Eddie Patterson will check on the fitness of defender Jay Magee (hamstring) and midfielder Stephen McAlorum (groin) before finalising his starting line-up.

Cliftonville goalkeeper Conor Devlin begins a two-match ban while Reds defender Marc Smyth is unavailable after being sent-off in a reserve game in midweek.

Tommy Breslin expects to be able to call on the services of Ciaran Doherty, who has shaken off the effects of a flu virus.

Portadown include new signing Shane O'Connor in their squad for the trip to face Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park as they aim to bounce back from last week's disappointing 3-1 defeat by Ards.

Former Ipswich Town and Shamrock Rovers defender O'Connor signed for the club on Tuesday night and will bolster their defensive options in the continued absence of injured duo Ross Redman and Keith O'Hara.

Dermot McCaffrey is Dungannon's only injury doubt, while Michael McKerr returns after suspension.

Crusaders are without the suspended Declan Caddell for their game against Warrenpoint Town at Seaview, while striker Timmy Adamson faces a late fitness test on a hamstring injury.

Ruairi Devlin misses out for Warrenpoint with an ankle injury and Patrick Mooney sits out the game through suspension.

Ballinamallard have goalkeeper Alvin Rouse returning to their ranks following a ban, while Mark McConkey comes back after a flu bug and Jason McCartney is back in the fold following an ankle injury.

Michael Hegarty is suspended for Coleraine's visit to Ferney Park after his dismissal during last week's defeat by Glentoran but Shane Jennings comes into the reckoning following an ankle problem.

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney met with some of the club's supporters during the week to discuss the club's poor run of form so far during this campaign.

"Our results this season have certainly been disappointing and we're not where we had hoped to be," admitted the Coleraine manager.

"That's largely because we have lost points due to individual errors. We know the margins between wins, draws and defeats are very tight, this season that's the case more than ever. However, by the same token we know that putting two or three results together will allow us to climb the league.

"Although we're sitting ninth at the moment, we're still only six points off second place.

"The performances have been encouraging at times, but in contrast to this time last year we're just not shutting out games they way we had been.

"Some of that has been down to our errors and some of that has been down to just not getting the breaks at critical times.

"However, now is the time when we will find out the real character of the players - how they respond over the next period of time will tell us more about them than all the good times."

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