Linfield manager David Healy has urged his players to continue delivering champion results and stay at the top of the table for fear that the Danske Bank Premiership season could be curtailed at any time.
With the country plunged into full-scale lockdown last night, elite football in Northern Ireland may be allowed to continue behind closed doors as in England and Scotland, but it is unknown for how long.
After Larne lost 1-0 at home to Ballymena United at the weekend, the Blues took advantage and returned to pole position in the top flight with an impressive 2-1 victory at Glenavon.
Many feel that, even at this early stage, the championship battle is a three horse race between leaders Linfield, Larne and Crusaders, who both have a game in hand, with just four points separating them at the top.
Clearly Healy sees things differently, believing that the clubs from fourth to seventh - Ballymena United, Cliftonville, Coleraine and Saturday's opponents Glentoran - can still have a say in the chase for the Gibson Cup.
He warns, though, that like last season, there is no guarantee the current campaign will be completed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked about the title race, Healy told the Belfast Telegraph: "It's wide open. You can go right down the table to a number of teams who are more than capable of challenging.
"The thing at the moment is that nobody knows whether the full 38 games are going to be played or what is going to happen further down the line, so you need to make sure you are putting yourself in a strong enough position for whatever is going to be around the corner."
Last term was called to a halt with seven games remaining and Linfield were declared champions on a points per game basis having been four points clear of second-placed Coleraine.
Sensibly this season, the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) already have a curtailment policy in place whereby at least 22 matches must be played by clubs otherwise no champions will be named.
If more than 22 fixtures take place, depending on the number of matches, standings will be determined by league placings or on a points per game basis.
So far most top flight sides have either played 11 or 12 league games, with Portadown on 10 and bottom club Carrick Rangers on nine.
The matches this weekend are the derbies that were supposed to be played on Boxing Day before NI Executive restrictions saw them postponed. The Blues will enter the match with the Glens at Windsor Park 14 points clear of their fiercest rivals.
“It’s a big game for both clubs. Any time a Big Two game comes around, we need to make sure we are on it and are ready, and hopefully on Saturday we will be,” says Healy, aiming to win his fourth title in five years as Linfield boss.
“Regardless if we are top or Glentoran are top, it is always an important game. I don’t think Glentoran or ourselves need any extra motivation to beat each other because that rivalry is always there.”
Linfield expect to have Windsor Park favourite Joel Cooper available for selection following his loan move from Oxford United until the end of the season.
“Joel’s clearance should be through so he will come into the equation of probably being on the bench,” said Healy.
“One thing we know about Joel is that he has quality. He proved that last season when he was the best attacking player in the league by a distance. He earned his move to Oxford with his performances and we are pleased to have him back at the club. Hopefully we can give Joel a platform to build on for when he goes back to Oxford in June.”
While Cooper has come back on a temporary basis, potential departures are midfielder Bastien Hery and defender Ryan McGivern either this month or at the end of the season.
Frenchman Hery was instrumental in Linfield’s fabulous run in Europe last season but is not a regular at present, leading to Dundalk, Cork and other League of Ireland sides keeping a close eye on his situation.