Healy turns up heat ahead of trip to Lurgan

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There are two top-six battles in the Danske Bank Premiership this weekend.

Second-placed Glenavon face defending champions Linfield at Mourneview Park on Friday night (8pm).

A win would move the Lurgan side back to within two points of leaders Coleraine who host Crusaders on Saturday.

After their win against the Bannsiders last week, Blues boss David Healy claims the heat is now on the other title contenders.

However, Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton has responded on the club website. He's said: “I’m not sure what David’s on about. Anyone who knows will realise that all the pressure’s on Linfield Football Club and not ourselves or Coleraine. 

"Linfield Football Club, the size that they are and the budget that they have and the players that they have, are expected to finish above Glenavon and Coleraine every year; it’s as simple as that. 

"Whenever I played for the Glens it was the same for the Glens – you were expected, as a ‘Big Two’ team, to finish above the rest every year and anything else was a failure."

Hamilton has also had his say on recent refereeing rows involving the Windsor Park team: “Every club in this country has been the victim of it but for some reason Linfield are the only club that comes out and makes an issue of it leading in to a big game. I feel that is completely wrong, putting pressure on officials."

The Blues are fifth in the standings, 11 points off the pace, but former Linfield player, Glenavon goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey, says they're well capable of retaining the Gibson Cup.


Linfield's Mark Stafford celebrates scoring against leaders Coleraine last week. Image credit: NIFL


Crusaders, currently third, head to Ballycastle Road on Saturday aiming for their 10th win in a row in all competitions. 

Manager Stephen Baxter says it should be a cracking contest between two evenly-matched teams.

The Shore Road side have scored 11 goals in the last two games and the teams they've beaten go head-to-head, with Dungannon facing Carrick Rangers at Stangmore Park.

Swifts boss Rodney McAree is on a revenge mission.

Also this weekend, Cliftonville entertain Ballymena, Glentoran face Ards at the Oval and Warrenpoint Town travel to Ballinamallard. 

There's a 5.30pm kick-off at Ferney Park with the rest of the games at the usual time of 3pm.

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