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Live Reporting

By Mark Sterling, Andy Gray and Richard Petrie

All times stated are UK

  1. As it stands

    Irish Premiership bottom six

    Irish Premiership bottom six
    Image caption: Irish Premiership bottom six
  2. As it stands

    Irish Premiership top six

    Irish Premiership top six
    Image caption: Irish Premiership top six
  3. Goals for the Glens?

    Andrew Mitchell goalscoring record (all comps)

    Andrew Mitchell goalscoring record
    Image caption: Andrew Mitchell goalscoring record
  4. Keeping it clean

    Clean sheets (all comps)

    Goalkeeper clean sheet record across all competitions
    Image caption: Goalkeeper clean sheet record across all competitions
  5. Home grown

    They might be struggling at the wrong end of the table, but Dungannon Swifts aren't afraid of giving young, local talent a chance.

    View more on twitter
  6. Team news

    Institute v Glentoran

    On paper at least, this one should be a formality for high-flying Glentoran. Mick McDermott's men are unbeaten since October in the league, while struggling Stute's last win came at the end of November.

    Sean Connor makes one change from Stute's 2-2- draw with Glenavon, with Aidan McCauley coming in for Cormac Burke.

    Glentoran have been busy in the transfer market and three January signings will make their debut today.

    Signed on Thursday, Caolan Marron and Andrew Mitchell come straight into the side, while former Finn Harps defender Keith Cowan also starting at the heart of the Glens' defence.

    Gavin Peers is suspended, with Conor Pepper and Patrick McClean the other duo to make way for the new recruits.

    Institute:R Brown, Morrow, C McLaughlin, D Curry, G Brown, McCready, McCauley, Tweed, Crown, Brogan, Pomeroy.

    Subs: Wells, Obhakhan, B McLaughlin, Burke, Bradley, Hume, Carty.

    Glentoran: Antolovic, Garrett, Kane, Gallagher, McDaid, Nasseri, Plum, Cowan, van Overbeek, Mitchell, Marron.

    Subs: Morris, Frazer, Herron, McClean, Pepper, O'Neill, O'Connor.


    Institute v Glentoran
    Image caption: Institute v Glentoran
  7. Team news

    Warrenpoint Town v Coleraine

    Warrenpoint Town ended Coleraine's unbeaten Premiership run with a 3-1 victory at Milltown in November and how Barry Gray's basement side could do with another three points against the Bannsiders on their home patch today.

    Point goalkeeper Mark Byrne has had his red card rescinded after being sent-off in last week's defeat by Glentoran at the Oval so he takes his place in the starting XI.

    Adam Carroll, on loan from Linfield, is named among the substitutes.

    Coleraine lie fifth in the table, but are only three points off the top despite their reverse at the hands of fellow title chasers Crusaders eight days ago.

    Lyndon Kane is missing through suspension, with Matthew Fitzpatrick making his first start for Oran Kearney's side after making his debut as a second-half substitute against the Crues following his move from Belfast Celtic.

    Adam Mullan replaces Kane, with Fitzpatrick's inclusion coming at the expense of James McLaughlin, who drops to the bench.

    Warrenpoint Town: Byrne, Bennett, Reilly, O'Sulivan, Doyle, Scannell, Hutchinson, Wallace, Dillon, Deasy, Swan.

    Subs: Smith, McVeigh, Lynch, Watters, Cowan, Mullen, Carroll.

    Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Canning, Doherty, Lowry, Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, Glackin, Traynor, Fitzpatrick.

    Subs: Gallagher, Douglas, McLaughlin, O'Donnell, Parkhill, Gawne, McGuckin.

    Warrenpoint Town v Coleraine
    Image caption: Warrenpoint Town v Coleraine
  8. Gareth McAuley on the Irish League, Rangers and Northern Ireland

    Irish League Behaviour podcast

    Joel Taggart and Liam Beckett sit down with retired Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley to discuss his career, starting from the early days in the Irish League. They are also joined by Gareth’s former manager at Coleraine, Marty Quinn. Listen on BBC Sounds here.

    Gareth McAuley on this week's Irish League Behaviour podcast
    Image caption: Gareth McAuley on this week's Irish League Behaviour podcast
  9. Friel hits a milestone

    Ballymena United v Glenavon

    Ballymena United striker Cathair Friel makes his 150th appearance for the Sky Blues against Glenavon, having scored 68 goals in his 149 appearances to date.

    Cathair Friel makes his 150th appearance for Ballymena United
    Image caption: Cathair Friel makes his 150th appearance for Ballymena United
  10. Team news

    Carrick Rangers v Cliftonville

    The team news is in from Taylor's Avenue - and it's interesting.

    Darren Murray goes straight into the Carrick Rangers line-up after his loan switch from Glentoran.

    He is one of three changes Rangers boss Niall Currie makes following last week's 4-0 defeat by Larne, with Daniel Magill - making his first league start of the season - and Stewart Nixon recalled as Guillaume Keke, Lloyd Anderson and Michael Smith drop down to the bench.

    There is a new face in the Cliftonville attack, too, with Michael McCrudden making his first start for the club. The former Institute and Derry City forward came on as a second-half substitute against Linfield on Monday, but this afternoon will be his first real opportunity to shine for the Reds with the league's top scorer, Joe Gormley, taking his place among the away side's substitutes.

    Captain Chris Curran also returns to the line-up and there is also a start for Thomas Maguire, who has been impressive of late, with Seanan Foster and Ryan Curran dropping to the bench.

    There are a couple of landmarks for Cliftonville today with centre-backs Garry Breen and Jamie Harney both making their 100th appearance for the club, while it's also Paddy McLaughlin's 50th game in charge since taking the reins last February.

    That won't be on his mind today, however, as his side look to get their title push back on track with three points. History is on their side - Cliftonville have won on each of their last five visits to Carrick.

    Carrick Rangers: Doherty, Carson, Neale, Surgenor, Loughran, Faulkner, Kelly, Nixon, Magill, Cherry, Murray

    Subs: Nicholl, Smith, Keke, Hassin, McGreevy, Colligan, Anderson

    Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney, C Curran, R Donnelly, McCrudden, Maguire, Doherty, McMenamin, A Donnelly

    Subs: Dunne, Ives, R Curran, Foster, Wilson, Bagnall, Gormley


    Carrick Rangers v Cliftonville
    Image caption: Carrick Rangers v Cliftonville
  11. Murray on the move

    Striker joins Carrick on loan

    Glentoran striker Darren Murray has agreed a loan deal with Carrick Rangers until the end of the season.

    The 29-year-old has been the subject of an internal investigation at the Oval after not showing up for their Irish Cup win over Portadown on 4 January.

    Read more here.

    Darren Murray has joined Carrick Rangers on loan from Glentoran
    Image caption: Darren Murray has joined Carrick Rangers on loan from Glentoran
  12. Harney & Breen join the 100 club

    Cliftonville defenders Jamie Harney and Garry Breen both make their 100th appearance for Cliftonville in today's match against Carrick Rangers.

    Harney & Breen join the 100 club
    Image caption: Harney & Breen join the 100 club
  13. Team news

    Crusaders v Larne

    Crusaders' Boxing Day defeat to rivals Cliftonville seems to have marked some sort of watershed moment in the Shore Road men's season - since that day they have won all four games they have played in the league and Irish Cup, keeping four clean sheets in the process.

    The most recent of those - last week's 1-0 win at fellow title challengers Coleraine - was a major signal of intent that Stephen Baxter's men are still very much part of the championship shake-up.

    Baxter makes one change from that win, with Gary Thompson coming in for David Cushley, who is on the bench.

    Larne also boast a 100 per cent win record in 2020 and last week's 4-0 drubbing of 'derby' rivals Carrick Rangers means manager Tiarnan Lynch names an unchanged starting XI today.

    Crusaders: Doherty, Burns, Lowry, McGonigle, Caddell, Forsythe, O'Rourke, Owens, Brown, Thompson, Heatley.

    Subs: O'Neill, Hegarty, Beverland, Cushley, Ruddy, Clarke, McElroy.

    Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kely, Watson, Sule, McDaid, Donnely, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis, McMurray.

    Subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, Randall, Tilney, Lynch, Andrade.


    Crusaders v Larne
    Image caption: Crusaders v Larne
  14. Team news

    Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

    Two weeks on and things are looking a little rosier for Linfield than they did after that shock Irish Cup exit to Queen's.

    The Blues, of course, bounced back from that defeat with an impressive win over Cliftonville on Monday night that propelled the title holders to the top of the table on goal difference.

    Congested as it is at the summit, David Healy's mean will no doubt fancy their chances of maintaining that lead as Dungannon Swifts come to Windsor Park having lost four and drawn one of their last five league outings.

    They haven't played since knocking Institute out of the Irish Cup on 4 January and Kris Lindsay has made four changes to his starting line-up, with Oisin Smyth, Ben Gallagher, Rhyss Campbell and veteran Terry Fitzpatrick coming into the side.

    Just one change for the Blues as Healy promotes Mark Stafford, who scored the winner against the Reds, to the team in place of the injured Mark Haughey.

    Linfield: Ferguson, Stafford, Callacher, Cooper, Stewart, Lavery, Clarke, Fallon, Mulgrew, Boyle, Mitchell.

    Subs: Moore, Millar, Shevlin, Kearns, Hery, McGivern, Casement.

    Dungannon Swifts: Byrne, Wilson, Teggart, Smyth, Lowe, Carvill, Coyle, McAleer, Gallagher, Campbell, Fitzpatrick.

    Subs: Addis, Redman, Hughes, Patton, Convie, Devlin, Conway.

    Linfield v Dungannon Swifts
    Image caption: Linfield v Dungannon Swifts
  15. Team news

    Ballymena United v Glenavon

    This time last year these clubs were flying high near the top of the table but today it's eighth against seventh as both have struggled to replicate the form which took them to second and third place finishes respectively last term.

    Ballymena's scheduled game at Dungannon was postponed last week so this is the Sky Blues' first outing for two weeks and David Jeffrey's line-up shows two changes from that which beat Crumlin Star in the Irish Cup.

    Kyle Owens, signed on loan from Crusaders until the end of the season, comes straight into the starting team, along with midfielder Declan Carville. Josh Kelly and Ross Lavery drop to the bench.

    Striker Adam Lecky serves the final game of his suspension.

    The Braidmen have lost each of their past three league outings while the Lurgan Blues are without a win in three.

    Glenavon have lost Andy Mitchell and Caolan Marron to Glentoran, with Stephen Murray going to Carrick Rangers on loan.

    New acquisition Calum Birney is immediately included in the staring side but his former Glentoran team-mate Dylan Davidson is suspended.

    A win for the hosts would see them move above their opponents into seventh in the table.

    Ballymena Utd: Williamson, T Kane, Addis, Friel, McCullough, Carville, McGrory, Ervin (capt), Millar, Reece Glendinning, Owens.

    Subs: Glendinning, Knowles, Andrew Burns, Winchester, Aaron Burns, Kelly, Lavery.

    Glenavon: Tuffey, Doyle, Daniels, Byrne, Harmon, Purkis, Snoddy, Singleton, Garrett, Jenkins, Birney.

    Subs: Larmour, Burns, Moorhouse, McCloskey, O'Mahony, Beggs, Sharkey.

    Ballymena United v Glenavon
    Image caption: Ballymena United v Glenavon
  16. Stephen Murray off to Shamrock Park

    Glenavon frontman joins Portadown

    Forward Stephen Murray has become the fourth player to leave Glenavon since the beginning of the January transfer window.

    The former Warrenpoint Town striker has joined Championship side Portadown.

    Read more here.

    Stephen Murray has joined Championship side Portadown from Glenavon.
    Image caption: Stephen Murray has joined Championship side Portadown from Glenavon.
  17. High-flying Glens sign Mitchell and Marron

    Title-chasing Glentoran have brought in striker Andrew Mitchell and defender Caolan Marron from Glenavon with Calum Birney going the other way.

    The clubs made a direct swap for Mitchell and Birney, while an undisclosed fee was agreed for Marron.

    Read more here.

    Caolan Marron and Andrew Mitchell
    Image caption: Caolan Marron and Andrew Mitchell
  18. On today's menu...

    Irish Premiership fixtures

    Irish Premiership fixtures
    Image caption: Irish Premiership fixtures
  19. Who will be top come this evening?

    Six Irish Premiership games

    What twists lie in store today? With the January transfer window in full swing, the title race has - somehow - become even more exciting.

    It could scarcely be tighter at the top. We have three teams on 50 points, one on 49 and another on 47. Title races like these don't come around too often.

    While Linfield received a timely boost with their hard-fought victory over Cliftonville on Monday to reclaim top spot, Glentoran had their own week to remember after making an eye-catching swoop for Glenavon pair Caolan Marron and Andrew Mitchell.

    The 'Big Two' will both expect to maintain their title push with three points today, too, with Linfield hosting Dungannon Swifts and Glentoran away to Institute.

    Meanwhile, Cliftonville hope to bounce back from their defeat by Linfield by taking three points away from Carrick Rangers, who have just signed former Reds striker Darren Murray on loan.

    Elsewhere, fourth-placed Crusaders welcome Larne to Seaview while Coleraine look to put a sticky recent patch behind them with a win at basement club Warrenpoint Town, where the Bannsiders relinquished their unbeaten start to the season with a stunning defeat in November.

    Finally, Glenavon - presumably reeling after losing Marron, Mitchell and Stephen Murray in the last couple of days - aim to secure their first win in 2020 when they take on Ballymena United at the Showgrounds.

    With all 12 teams in action, we'll have all hands on deck to bring you live text, radio coverage and goal clips of another mouthwatering Irish Premiership Saturday.