Irish Premiership: Ports players back for Ballymena trip

Darren Murray and Chris Ramsey return to the Portadown panel for the game at Ballymena
Portadown's Darren Murray and Chris Ramsey return from suspension

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall welcomes back four players for Saturday's Premiership trip to early-season leaders Ballymena United.

Last season's top scorer Darren Murray plus defenders Chris Ramsey, Emmett Friars and Garry Breen are all available after suspensions.

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson looks ahead to Saturday's Premiership game against Portadown

They missed the opening win over Linfield and Wednesday's defeat by champions Cliftonville.

Close season signing from Linfield, Michael Gault, is still suspended.

Ballymena duo Tony Kane and Gary Thompson are also serving bans.

"Portadown have plenty of ammunition up front with Gary Twigg, Mark McAllister and Darren Murray and they have big men at the back too," said Ballymena boss Glenn Ferguson.

"But we coped well at Crusaders on Wednesday night and if we can keep switched on and don't fall asleep in our own area we can get something from the game."

Ballymena drew 2-2 at Seaview in midweek, having beaten Warrenpoint Town on the opening day.

Linfield, who picked up their first points with a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win at Glentoran on Wednesday, are likely to be without top striker Andrew Waterworth and defender Sean Ward for their match away to Coleraine.

Waterworth went off early at the Oval with a hamstring injury while Ward suffered an ankle knock.

Definitely out for the Blues is defender Jimmy Callacher as a result of his red card against the Glens.

Crusaders also have early-season injury problems with defenders Declan Caddell and Paul Leeman ruled out of the home game against Ballinamallard United.

Caddell sustained broken toes during the game against Ballymena, while former Glens star Leeman faces weeks out with a broken arm.

Champions Cliftonville, who followed up an opening draw with Glentoran by winning at Portadown, are away to Premiership new boys Institute, who like the Reds are on four points.

Glenavon, the other side level with Ballymena at the top, are at home to Dungannon Swifts who have drawn their two opening fixtures.

Glentoran, who host Warrenpoint Town, have striker Curtis Allen back from suspension but goalkeeper Elliott Morris is struggling with a persistent back problem.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership

Ballymena United v Portadown

Coleraine v Linfield

Crusaders v Ballinamallard United

Glenavon v Dungannon Swifts

Glentoran v Warrenpoint Town

Institute v Cliftonville