Matchday 33 of the NIFL Danske Bank Premiership sees Linfield travel west to face Dungannon Swifts FC at Stangmore Park (Friday at 7.45pm ko). This will be Linfield's third visit of the season to Dungannon and their last fixture before the Premiership top six split. This season the Blues have recorded wins in all of the three games played between the teams (IPL h3-0, a2-1 & LC a1-0).
There was to be no Seaview hangover for Linfield who got back on track with a well deserved home win (2-0) over Institute at the weekend. In the first half the visitors, were offering very little moving forward and defending in depth, to frustrate the Linfield forward line. In the second half the breakthrough goal came when MotM Jordan Stewart struck home a fierce drive high into the visitor's net. This was followed by a second goal when Josh Robinson headed home from a corner to secure the win. This was a measured, patient performance from the Blues which came with the added bonus of a first clean sheet in three games.
In their last outing Dungannon Swifts narrowly lost (1-0) to Glenavon at Mourneview Park. It has however so far been a relatively satisfactory Premiership campaign for the Swifts under manager Kris Lindsay. Whilst they have never really looked likely to engineer a top six finish, they have remained comfortably clear of the dreaded relegation zone. Dungannon will now be zeroing in on a strong run of results to bank a seventh place finish and secure a European play-off tie. Much will depend on their form over the next few weeks which begins with visit of Linfield, and is followed by two consecutive home games. After recent home wins over both Crusaders and Cliftonville, the Swifts have shown that on their day they can be match for any team visiting Stangmore Park.
Linfield will be fired up for what is sure to be a tough physical encounter against a robust and resilient Dungannon side. With a forecast of some heavy and persistent localised rainfall, the players may also have to cope with the rigours of a heavy pitch. David and the players will be certainly be looking towards the travelling Linfield faithful for plenty of encouragement and support. The close proximity of the terraces to the Stangmore Park pitch will afford these loyal supporters every opportunity to do just that! COYB!