Portadown prepare for tough fixtures

Portadown skipper Keith O'Hara is back after suspension
Portadown skipper Keith O'Hara is back after suspension

Manager Ronnie McFall knows his table-topping Portadown team will have their title aspirations tested by a run of demanding fixtures.

The Ports will face four of the top six over the next month - starting with Saturday's home game against Glentoran.

The league leaders will have skipper Keith O'Hara back for the game after a ban but Michael Gault is suspended.

"We have seen anybody can beat anybody in this league. We have to treat every team with respect," said McFall.

"We almost dropped two points at Dungannon last week. We took our foot off the gas and got out of jail to a certain extent.

"I thought it was going to be a draw when they made it 2-2, but we have great character and resolve and a winning mentality.

"That is what got us over the line," added McFall, whose side have four successive wins under their belt.

Glentoran moved up to sixth place last weekend by beating Institute and boss Eddie Patterson is looking to make more progress.

"What we have got to do know is target the team in fifth place, Glenavon," he said.

"We were delighted with the three points last week. I think there was a bit of tiredness there because we have had some tough games over the last couple of weeks."

Glentoran have a superb record at Shamrock Park, with six wins from their last seven visits.

Elsewhere, Cliftonville entertain injury-affected Ballymena United at Solitude, with the Sky Blues hoping that Michael Ruddy, Neal Gawley and Matthew Tipton will be fit to face the Reds after picking up knocks in last Saturday's win over Ballinamallard.

Crusaders are without suspended midfielder Declan Caddell for the trip to Institute, who should have Aaron Walsh and Paddy McLaughlin available for selection.

In-demand Drumahoe striker Stephen O'Flynn continues to struggle with a muscle injury and remains doubtful.

Coleraine head to Windsor Park to take on Linfield on the back of successive defeats to Dungannon Swifts and Crusaders, which brought their recent run of good form to an end.

Blues boss Warren Feeney has former Bannsiders midfielder Stephen Lowry available again but must decide whether to restore him to his starting line-up following last week's victory over Warrenpoint at Milltown.

"Coleraine are physical and strong and they also have good footballers," warned Feeney.

"We need to turn Windsor Park into a fortress and our fans can be our extra man - we need them to be positive and get right behind the team, they can help and be a big part of what we are trying to do."

Danske Bank Premiership - Saturday 29 November - 15:00 GMT kick-offs

Cliftonville v Ballymena Utd

Institute v Crusaders

Linfield v Coleraine

Portadown v Glentoran

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