Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin welcomes players' return

Tommy Breslin
Tommy Breslin

Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin says the imminent return of several key players from injury will give the Premiership pacesetters a major boost.

James Knowles, Ciaran Caldwell, Barry Holland and Ciaran Donaghy are all set to return from injury, though Chris Scannell remains a long-term absentee.

"To have these players back will really strengthen the squad. It will give us a lot more options," enthused Breslin.

"In the light of that I'm not actively looking to recruit," he added.

The Reds enjoy a six-point lead over second-placed Crusaders, with Tuesday night's rearranged match against Donegal Celtic at Suffolk Road in hand.

Cliftonville have Ryan Catney suspended, while Donegal Celtic are without Eamon Hughes and Mark Burns for the same reason.

DC boss Pat McAllister drafts new signing Kevin Hughes into his panel for the game.

Meanwhile Coleraine must plan without banned striker Curtis Allen for their home fixture with Ballinamallard United, who are missing David Kee and Mark Stafford.

"We have a number of players out through injury and suspension so I may have to blood some young talent," said Ballinamallard boss Whitey Anderson.

"I am confident we can make a big push for the top six but we really need to get a result at Coleraine - it has become our most important game of the season so far."

The Mallards face a strong challenge for sixth position from Portadown, who travel to Lisburn Distillery on Tuesday evening.

Striker Gary Twigg has started his Shamrock Park career by scoring three goals in two games and the Ports have also added Aaron Burns to their ranks.

"Gary is quality, we knew that when we signed him, while Aaron can do very well for us," said Portadown assistant manager Kieran Harding.

The Whites will be without suspended trio Aaron Smyth, Andrew Ferguson and Aaron Traynor, who has been handed a six-match ban for a headbutting offence.

Glentoran must plan without Stephen McAlorum for the clash at the Oval with Ballymena United, who have midfielder Gavin Taggart sitting out the game.

The Sky Blues, who have won five of their last six league games at the East Belfast venue, are again set to be without injured defender Aaron Stewart, but Alan Davidson may reclaim a starting role.

Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy must serve a touchline ban for his side's home game with Glenavon, who are without Eddie McCallion,

Irish Premiership fixtures - Tuesday 15 January - 19:45 GMT unless stated

Donegal Celtic v Cliftonville

Dungannon Swifts v Glenavon

Glentoran v Ballymena United

Lisburn Distillery v Portadown

Coleraine v Ballinamallard United (20:00 GMT)