Match day two of the Danske Bank NIFL Premiership sees Linfield welcome Institute FC to Windsor Park (7.45pm ko) on Friday. This will be the first league meeting between the teams since March 2015 when the Blues won 1-0 at Drumahoe.
On Saturday Linfield got the new Premiership season off to the best possible start with a hard earned victory (1-0) at Glenavon. The 2,000+ travelling Linfield supporters were kept on the edge of their seats as the action ebbed and flowed between these two evenly matched teams.. The MOM award could really only be given to the imperious Roy Carroll who kept Linfield in the game with several outstanding saves. Daniel Kearns, one of four Linfield debutants, looked assured throughout and was duly rewarded with his first competitive goal for the club. The game itself was a fine advert for the NIFL Premiership with both teams displaying plenty of ambition in the final third of the park.
Newly promoted Institute made it a winning return to the Premiership with a single goal victory (1-0) over Newry City in a landmark first Irish league game at the Brandywell since 1971. Last year Institute were unfortunately forced to vacate their ground in Drumahoe after flooding caused catastrophic damage to the Riverside stadium. Against all the odds the team went on to lift the NIFL Championship trophy to take the club back up into the top tier after an absence of 3 years. This season the remit for manager Paddy McLaughlin must be to ensure Premiership survival. A challenging campaign lies ahead for the 'Stute, but it would certainly be remiss of any team to write off their chances after last season's remarkable triumph through adversity.
Linfield can expect to meet an an Institute side who will still be buzzing after Saturday's win at the Brandywell. As is often the case with any newly promoted team, they will to some extent be a bit of an unknown quantity. David will certainly have his troops 'expecting the unexpected' from this youthful Institute side! The Friday night scheduling of the fixture affords Linfield with an early opportunity to jump to the top of the Premiership table. Hopefully, the Blues can take all three points under the Windsor floodlights to do just that! COYB!!