Billy tackles ... Darren Murray
It seems like it was last year when we last did predictions (oh, it was) when Ballymena United skipper Jim Ervin made it a miserable end to 2017 for me with another victory for the players.
He recorded a 6-1 win in the last series of fixtures before Christmas but, now armed with my new Big Boy’s Book of How To Predict brought to me by Santa, I am confident of things turning around in 2018.
Next up is Warrenpoint Town striker Darren Murray, who has given his thoughts on this week’s games.
The usual rules apply, three points for an exact prediction and one for the correct outcome.
Glenavon v Cliftonville
We played the Reds on Saturday and they weren’t great, and to be fair we weren’t either. We played Glenavon the week before and they weren’t great, with just a 1-0 win. I thought we were unlucky not to get a point or a win against them, we had two or three great chances, Jonny Tuffey made some great saves and they had nothing really bar their goal. I would say Cliftonville will just edge it.
Murray prediction: 1-2
Weir prediction: 2-2
Crusaders v Ards
If you look over the last few years, Ards have been a bit of a bogey team for the Crues so that will be a tough game but you can’t really look past Crusaders. They’re a strong team, hard to break down and score plenty of goals and it’s even tough for the top teams to play Crusaders.
Murray prediction: 3-0
Weir prediction: 4-1
Ballinamallard Utd v Glentoran
I see Ballinamallard have signed a lot of players and brought big Stephen O’Flynn back. He has experience and can hold the ball up well and that is something they seem to have been missing, the ball was just coming back and keeping the defenders under pressure. The Glens had a great win against Linfield on Boxing Day and have gone off again like they’ve been doing all season. I know they’re down there with us but I’d like to see Ballinamallard win because their manager has been under a lot of pressure.
Murray prediction: 1-0
Weir prediction: 1-1
Dungannon Swifts v Coleraine
Dungannon have a few great players down there, Ryan Harpur, Paul McElroy, Dougie Wilson, they all love playing football. But, like ourselves, they just concede too many at times. Coleraine have brought in Stephen Dooley, Eoin Bradley is back and they’re just missing Lyndon Kane now, so it will be right to the wire with them and the Crues.
Murray prediction: 0-2
Weir prediction: 1-2
Ballymena Utd v Carrick Rangers
I am hoping Ballymena beat them because Carrick are down beside Warrenpoint. Ballymena beat Glenavon 3-1 and Kyle Owens seems to be scoring a lot of goals at the minute so you have to fancy them.
Murray prediction: 2-1
Weir prediction: 3-1