Irish Premiership: Jeffrey relishing 'massive' Crues test

Crusaders midfielder Declan Caddell challenges Sean ward of Linfield

Linfield boss David Jeffrey believes the Windsor Park showdown with Crusaders will show how far the Irish Premiership leaders have progressed.

The league's two form sides clash with fourth-placed Crusaders sitting four points behind the Blues.

"Crusaders present a massive challenge - they have been playing some great stuff lately," said Jeffrey.

"We know how tough it's going to be and it will let us see how far we have progressed this season."

Linfield have climbed to the top after seven straight league victories while the Crues are unbeaten in 12 games.

Blues striker Peter Thompson is set to be out for the next three weeks with a hamstring injury while a similar problem has sidelined defender Mark Haughey.

"It won't be make or break but it is a very big game," said Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter.

"We're just glad to be in the early title race. In the first six games we didn't do as well as we could.

"Now we're pushing up the table and we are determined to build on that."

Portadown take on an injury-hit Ards at Clandeboye Park, with five players ruled out and doubts over Ryan Henderson and Andy Hunter.

Ballymena United make the trip to Dungannon Swifts with both sides missing players through suspensions.

Sky Blues trio Shane Dolan, Johnny Taylor and Gavin Taggart are banned while David Cushley and Michael Ruddy are injury concerns.

Dungannon defenders Michael McKerr and Andrew Burns are suspended with doubts over Stefan Lavery and Cameron Grieve.

Glentoran will be without central defenders Calum Birney (suspension) and Jay Magee (hamstring) for the visit of Coleraine, who could be without Ruairi Harkin (hip) and Shane Jennings (ankle).

Cliftonville keeper Conor Devlin returns from suspension as the champions prepare for a Solitude meeting with Warrenpoint Town.

Town boss Barry Gray is sweating on the fitness of Ruairi Devlin and Daniel Hughes, who both have ankle problems.

Danske Bank Premiership

Saturday 19 October - 15:00 BST kick-off

Ards v Portadown

Cliftonville v Warrenpoint Town

Coleraine v Glentoran

Dungannon Swifts v Ballymena Utd

Linfield v Crusaders

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