Irish Premiership: Portadown hope to close gap on Linfield

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Stephen Baxter's Crusaders have seven point from four matches

Portadown will hope to close the three-point gap on league leaders Linfield when the teams meet at Windsor Park.

The game is one of two Premiership matches to be played on Saturday, with champions Crusaders hosting Dungannon Swifts in the other.

Crues manager Stephen Baxter expects a tough test from the Swifts.

"Dungannon are a team we have struggled against for five seasons. They work incredibly hard for each other and set up a great shape," said Baxter.

"They have a great tactician in their manager Darren Murphy, who knows the game inside out. I like the way they play and we will give them full respect.

"Darren knows how to set up his team for big matches and they have a lot of strength in depth too."

Baxter revealed that midfielder Chris Morrow is "a couple of weeks away" from returning to action, while Barry Molloy will turn out in a number of reserve games to build up his match fitness.

Meanwhile Swifts boss Murphy wants his squad to aspire to a higher league position, having made survival in the top flight their primary concern in recent years.

"I'd like to put a bit of pressure on the players to push towards sixth or seventh. I believe we have the squad to do that.

"I'm happy with the panel I have and we play a nice brand of football at times, we just need to want to win that little bit more."

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin will have striker Stephen Garrett back in his squad for the trip to Milltown to face Warrenpoint Town on Sunday.

The hosts are still seeking their first point of the campaign, but manager Barry Gray has been broadly pleased with the application of his players.

"It's about building on a better performance in the defeat by Glentoran last week and the wins and the points will come in due course," said Gray.

Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday 29 August - 15:00 BST kick-offs
CrusadersvDungannon Swifts
LinfieldvPortadown
Danske Bank Premiership - Sunday 30 August - 15:00 BST
WarrenpointvCliftonville

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