Crues and Sky Blues go head to head in Danske Bank Premiership

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Photo courtesy of NIFL

The latest round of fixtures sees two in-form sides go up against each other, while Aaron Callaghan has his first game in charge of Carrick Rangers

Two of the form teams in the Danske Bank Premiership go head-to-head on Saturday. 

Champions and league leaders Crusaders face fourth-placed Ballymena United at the Showgrounds.

The Sky Blues have enjoyed a dramatic change in fortunes since they lost 6-0 to the Crues on the opening day of the season.

And David Jeffrey's team go into the rematch on the back of a stunning 4-1 League Cup victory over his old club Linfield.

Here's Crues midfielder Richard Clarke.

The fixture list this weekend is a reversal of match day one back in August.

Carrick Rangers have a new manager though - Aaron Callaghan takes charge for the first time in the home game against Glenavon.

Elsewhere, Linfield boss David Healy will be hoping his team can bounce back from their mid-week League Cup exit when they welcome Ballinamallard to Windsor Park.  

The Mallards are reeling from a 6-1 defeat in the cup at Dungannon but manager Gavin Dykes says they aren't going to Belfast to make up the numbers...

After hitting the Mallards and Portadown for six in their last two matches, the Swifts entertain Glentoran.

Meanwhile, Cliftonville play Ards at Solitude with the north Down club still smarting from their League Cup defeat against Championship side Warrenpoint Town. 

All the above games start at 3pm, but the Portadown against Coleraine clash at Shamrock Park has a later kick-off time of 5.30pm.

The Bannsiders are sitting third in the table after this week being handed the points from their postponed opening day fixture against the Ports.

It was part of IFA disciplinary action that also confirmed the County Armagh club have been docked 12 points.

Portadown agonisingly missed out in Wednesday's cup tie against Crusaders and manager Pat McGibbon says the performance has given them hope of a fresh start in the league.

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