Preview of Friday's Windsor Park game

Posted : 16th February 2017 at 20:10:11

After four consecutive away fixtures, Linfield make a welcome return to action under the Windsor Park floodlights when they face Portadown FC on match day 29 of the Danske Bank NIFL Premiership (7.45pm ko). This season the Blues have impressed in the two games already played between the teams winning both home (4-1) and away (5-1).

Linfield kept their winning run of games going at Taylors Avenue with a well deserved victory (2-0) over a battling Carrick Rangers side. The game itself suffered as a spectacle as the strong crosswinds off Belfast Lough swrilled around the stadium turning high balls into someting of a lottery. It was Linfield however who were generally in control of the game as they laid siege on the Carrick goal only to be denied on three occassions by the woodwork. A goal at the end of each half from firstly Stephen Lowry (penalty) and then Paul Smyth, proved to be enough for the Blues to take home all three points.

Visitors Portadown have endured a fairly horrendous season, which began with the implementation of a twelve point and then a further three point deduction following the breaking of player payment and illegibility rules respectively. Subsequent fines and a ban on signing players effectively made the Premiership season all about survival and consolidation for the mid-Ulster club. Niall Currie, their third managerial appointment of the season, has valiantly tried to engineer a run of results to lift the team out of the relegation zone. But with the business end of the season season fast approaching, the Ports remain firmly anchored and 12 points adrift at the bottom of the table. On Saturday they slumped to a sixth consecutive defeat when they shipped three goals at home to Ards (3-0).

Linfield manager David Healey will be demanding that his players build on the momentum that has been generated over the last few months. But with only ten league fixtures left on the calender there is little room left for the Blues to manouvre within. It is essential that they begin to erode the seven point deficit that separates them from top spot in the table. Friday night's fixture presents Linfield with a window of opportunity to hopefully do just that! COYB!

Ken Garrett.
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