Crusaders have key pair back for league game with Institute

Crusaders captain Colin Coates
Crusaders captain Colin Coates

Crusaders have key pair Colin Coates and Paul Heatley available again for Saturday's Premiership game against struggling Institute at Seaview.

Skipper Coates is back from suspension, while influential midfielder Heatley returns after missing last weekend's Irish Cup win over Carrick Rangers.

The league leaders are without injured duo Barry Molloy and Emmett Friars.

Stephen Baxter's side have dropped just two points in their last 10 league games and lead Linfield by six points.

Baxter has been named as the Northern Ireland Football Writers' Manager of the Month for the second time in a row after a month which saw the Crues maintain a 100% record, extend their advantage at the top of the table and reach the semi-finals of the Irish Cup.

Their fortunes are in marked contrast to their opponents, who have picked up two points from their last 10 Premiership outings.

Institute are four points adrift at the foot of the table and manager Paul Kee must plan without suspended quartet Mark Forker, Aaron Walsh, Dean Curry and Darren McFadden for the trip to north Belfast.

On the plus side, Stephen Curry returns to the panel following his trip to America.

Linfield will hope to overcome the disappointment of their Irish Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Portadown when they face Warrenpoint Town at Windsor Park.

Eddie Patterson
Eddie Patterson's Glentoran side lie fifth in the Premiership standings

Cross-city rivals Glentoran continue their bid for European qualification with a game against fellow Irish Cup semi-finalists Portadown at Shamrock Park.

"This club has to be in European football - if we want to attract quality players to the club then we need to generate money and European football is one way of doing that," said Glens' manager Eddie Patterson.

"If we can pick up some points before the split and close the gap on Portadown and Cliftonville, who are ahead of us, then that would be a big boost," added Patterson.

Cliftonville have shown a return to form in recent weeks, winning their last two league encounters without conceding a goal, following a dismal run of seven without a victory, which put pay to any realistic chance of them retaining their league title.

The Reds are without strike duo Joe Gormley, who serves a one-match ban, and David McDaid, who sits out the last of a six-game suspension, for their fixture at Coleraine.

Defender Eamonn Seydak returns to the squad after injury but there are injury doubts over captain George McMullan and central defender Marc Smyth.

The Bannsiders are without Ruairi Harkin because of an ankle injury.

Ballinamallard defend a record of four games unbeaten in the league as they host Glenavon at Ferney Park.

Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday 7 March - 15:00 GMT kick-offs

Ballinamallard Utd v Glenavon

Coleraine v Cliftonville

Crusaders v Institute

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Portadown v Glentoran

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