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Crues targeting travel slickness as Ports seek a winning return

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Mick McDermott

Mick McDermott

Mick McDermott

Invincible at Seaview, Crusaders are anything but on the road which offers hope to Portadown tonight despite being hammered 5-0 the last time the sides met.

That was in north Belfast in December. Matthew Tipton will tell his players this one is on their own patch and it could be a totally different story given the Crues' away form.

In seven league games at home, Stephen Baxter's side have claimed 19 out of 21 points yet on their travels they have only amassed seven from six fixtures.

Baxter has spoken about a desire to improve results away from Seaview and will want his players to deliver on that aim at Shamrock Park this evening.

On Saturday in the game of the season so far against Larne, the Crues showed why they are genuine title contenders, coming back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to earn a 3-3 draw in the dying moments and maintain their unbeaten record at home this season.

It was a draw that kept them one point behind second-placed Larne, who have a game in hand, and while they are now five points behind leaders Linfield, they are very much in the mix.

If the Shore Road men click into gear versus Portadown, they will be hard to stop but Tipton's young side has quality too and, having missed out on playing Carrick on Saturday on the back of the Premiership's Covid-enforced break, they will be itching to go.

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Glentoran's match at Glenavon was another to fall foul of the weather but the hope is their home game with bottom club Carrick Rangers will go ahead.

When this pair played in east Belfast last month, the Glens won 6-0 so Carrick boss Niall Currie will be seeking a much better performance even if his side are massive underdogs. Mick McDermott's team enter the clash 17 points adrift of Linfield and, while they have two games in hand, the Glens boss is shrewd enough to know they need to go on a fantastic run to make any sort of challenge for the title. He will demand that starts tonight.

Against Glenavon at Stangmore Park, Dungannon Swifts boss Kris Lindsay feels his side can build on some of the positives he witnessed in the weekend loss to Coleraine, while there will be a pitch inspection at Milltown at 3pm today ahead of Warrenpoint Town's game with David Jeffrey's Ballymena United, who have have signed teenager Ben Wylie on loan from Celtic until the end of the season.


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