Irish Premiership: Steven McDonnell says Warrenpoint must improve against Blues

Warrenpoint keeper Aaron McCarey watches another Linfield goal hit the net at Milltown in September
Linfield hammered Warrenpoint 5-0 at Milltown in September
Danske Bank Premiership
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Warrenpoint Town boss Stephen McDonnell says his team will have to improve hugely from last weekend's home defeat by Institute to compete in Saturday's Premiership game against Linfield.

Town lost their first six games but then regrouped with a five-match unbeaten run which included three wins.

But they have lost their last two games against Cliftonville and Institute.

"If we perform like that, we will be getting beating in another six games in a row," said McDonnell.

"We were miles off it."

Warrenpoint will be without the suspended Ciaran O'Connor following his late red card in the Institute defeat.

Healy warns Blues not to underestimate Point

David Healy's side have already hammered Warrenpoint 5-0 at Milltown this season but is warning his players not to underestimate the county Down team in the Windsor Park game.

"We had difficulties with Warrenpoint last year. We drew with them 3-3 and it's going to be another tough game," added the Linfield boss.

"Ards proved when we played them [and lost] a couple of weeks ago that there are no easy games in this league."

Victory will be enough to move the Blues back to the top of the table if Glenavon are unable to win at Ballymena on Friday night.

Cliftonville will hope to build on last weekend's fine win at Coleraine by accounting for Glentoran at Solitude.

The Showgrounds success was the Reds' fourth victory in five games and moved them up to fourth in the table.

Glentoran manager Ronnie McFall is mulling over making changes after his side were involved in three successive midweek games which went to extra-time.

Jay Donnelly's goal clinched Cliftonville's 2-1 win over Glentoran in early August
Jay Donnelly hit Cliftonville's winner on the opening weekend of the season against Glentoran

That included Tuesday's League Cup win over Coleraine when the Glens edged victory on penalties after the game finished 3-3 following 120 minutes of action.

"We may need to freshen it up a bit," said McFall.

However, the wily Glens boss looks unlikely to rest Curtis Allen following his four goals in two games.

Allen brought up his century of goals by netting twice in last weekend's 4-0 win over Ards and notched another double in the midweek cup game before also slotting in the penalty shootout.

Ards boss Colin Nixon is demanding a return to the kind of display which shocked Linfield two weeks ago when they host bottom Dungannon Swifts at Bangor Fuels Arena.

"We were really poor all over against Glentoran. Hopefully we can get back to the level we were at against Linfield," said Nixon.

While Dungannon are at the foot of the table, they were decidedly unlikely not to pick up a point against Linfield last weekend when the Blues hit a last-gasp winner.

"There were a massive amount of positives to take from that game," said Swifts boss Kris Lindsay.

Clucas suspended for Swifts after red card

On the minus side, the Swifts will be without Seanan Clucas following his red carding last weekend.

A Swifts victory will lift them off the bottom of the table and would see Ards dropping to 12th spot if Newry City manage to account for champions Crusaders on Friday night.

The North West derby has an early 13:00 BST start at the Brandywell as Institute host Coleraine.

Last weekend's home defeat by Cliftonville dropped the Bannsiders to seventh in the table and they then exited from the League Cup in midweek.

However, manager Rodney McAree says he was able to take many positives from the Oval game despite the eventual outcome.

"We were exceptional so we'll try to build on the large parts of Tuesday's game which were positive," said McAree.

Institute suffered a chastening 5-0 League Cup hammering by Linfield on the same evening but will go into Saturday's contest on the back of successive away league wins over Newry and Ards.

Danske Bank Premiership - 15:00 GMT unless stated
InstitutevColeraine - 13:00
ArdsvDungannon Swifts
LinfieldvWarrenpoint Town

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