Cliftonville still team to beat - Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton led his side to Irish Cup success last season

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton believes Cliftonville are still the team to beat in the Premiership despite last week's 4-1 defeat by derby rivals Crusaders.

The fifth-placed Lurgan Blues host the Reds, who lie second behind Portadown on goal difference, on Saturday.

"Cliftonville had a setback last week but I think they'll go on and win the league convincingly," said Hamilton.

"They're the team everyone has to try and match but we can take confidence from some good recent performances."

Hamilton will come into the forward line to face the champions as both Eoin Bradley and Kevin Braniff are suspended.

Portadown are boosted by the return of key men Michael Gault and Darren Murray from suspension for their trip to face Dungannon Swifts.

Striker Gary Twigg is set to be available again after injury but defender Keith O'Hara sits out the game because of a one-match ban.

Having ended a 13-match run without a win by beating Coleraine last week, the Swifts will now aim to secure their first home league win of the season against Ronnie McFall's table-toppers.

Dungannon manager Darren Murphy must plan without suspended central defender David Armstrong, who serves a one-game ban, and Matt Hazley, who is absent because of work commitments.

Linfield, who are unbeaten in eight away games since losing to Portadown on the opening day of the season, have fitness worries over Stephen Lowry and Sean Ward, while Kirk Millar is suspended for the visit to Warrenpoint Town after being sent-off while playing for the Swifts.

Meanwhile Institute manager Paul Kee is set to give goalkeeper Martin Gallagher a chance to impress between the posts away to Glentoran, with regular stopper Eugene Ferry being taken out of the firing line.

"Eugene is a fantastic goalkeeper but he's just lacking a bit of confidence at the moment," explained Kee.

Striker Stephen O'Flynn could miss the trip to the Oval after picking up an injury in training this week.

Ballymena United's injury concerns continue to mount as they prepare to entertain their League Cup semi-final opponents Ballinamallard United at the Showgrounds.

Defender Aaron Stewart is likely to miss the rest of the season as he awaits surgery on a dislocated shoulder injury, while midfielder Brian McCaul could also miss the remainder of the campaign with a serious knee problem.

Gavin Taggart (collapsed lung), David Cushley (knee), Alan Teggart (ankle), Kyle McVey (broken leg) and Jim Ervin (cruciate) are all missing, but manager Glenn Ferguson hopes defensive duo Stephen McBride and Johnny Taylor will pass late fitness tests.

The Sky Blues have not won in the league since 20 September, while the Mallards have accumulated an encouraging 10 points from their last six fixtures.

Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday 22 November - 15:00 GMT kick-offs

Ballymena Utd v Ballinamallard Utd

Dungannon Swifts v Portadown

Glenavon v Cliftonville

Glentoran v Institute

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

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