Belfast Telegraph

Linfield and Crusaders in fixture pile-up with draw for Scots Challenge Cup

By Adam McKendry

Linfield and Crusaders' involvement in the IRN-BRU Challenge Cup has caused two more games in the Danske Bank Premiership to be postponed on October 8, adding to the backlog of Irish League fixtures.

The Blues' trip to Ballymena United and the Crues' visit to Glenavon will both be played at later dates, which are yet to be arranged, due to both teams having Challenge Cup fourth round fixtures on the same day.

It causes further delay to the Irish League schedule after Linfield's match-up with Cliftonville at the weekend had to be postponed due to the number of international call-ups in David Healy's side.

Both Linfield and Crusaders accepted invitations to the Scottish Challenge Cup after its organisers took the decision to open it up to more teams in order to increase its appeal.

The two teams received invites as the top two finishers in the Premiership last season, along with the top two finishers in Wales, The New Saints and Bala Town.

As it was before the tournament revamp, teams from the Scottish Premier League still cannot enter, however this season they were given the option to enter an Under-20 team, which most did including defending champions Rangers and Celtic.

Both Linfield and Crusaders will enter into the competition at the fourth round and will be seeded in today's draw, which is at 12 noon, so they cannot face each other at this early stage.

They will be joined in the draw by TNS and Bala Town as well as the 12 winners from the third round.

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