Peter Thompson injury blow for Premiership champions Linfield

Linfield take on Portadown on Saturday without top striker Peter Thompson who sustained a hamstring injury in Tuesday night's defeat by Crusaders.

The former Northern Ireland player is likely to be out for several weeks in the latest in a series of injury setbacks for Blues boss David Jeffrey.

Big summer signing, striker Matthew Tipton, is also out sidelined.

The Irish Premiership champions go to Shamrock Park having taken just five points from their five matches so far.

"There is no harder place to go than Portadown, and after that it is Cliftonville, so there is a clatter of tough games coming up," said manager Jeffrey.

"But these are the matches players want to be involved in.

"It will be a stern test and confidence will have taken a bit of a rattling after Tuesday's result.

"However, I thought we played some of our best football of the season against Crusaders.

"It is where you end up at the end of the season that counts."

Full-back Stephen Douglas is also out of the Linfield squad but Jeffrey hopes he and Tipton will be able to resume training next week.

Linfield's trip to the Ports is the potential highlight of Saturday's fixture list.

League leaders Cliftonville are at home to promoted Ballinamallard United and Reds manager Tommy Breslin believes it is vital his side does not slip up at Solitude.

"We want to win all our home matches but that will not happen if we do not show the right approach and attitude," said Breslin whose side are one point ahead of Coleraine and Crusaders.

Crues manager Stephen Baxter was at Mourneview Park on Monday to assess opponents Glenavon ahead of Saturday's clash at Mourneview Park.

The Lurgan men played out a 2-2 draw and left Baxter expecting a demanding encounter.

"I thought they were excellent, very fit and working hard for each other," said Baxter.

"We won there in the cup last season, but in the league they turned us over quite easily. It will be a tough task."

Coleraine defender Lee Colligan will miss his side's home game against Lisburn Distillery after picking up an ankle injury in Tuesday's 3-1 win at Donegal Celtic.

Glentoran, encouraged by their 4-1 victory at Ballinamallard, play Dungannon Swifts away on Saturday.

Ballymena United, who suffered their first defeat in 17 matches at Cliftonville on Tuesday, take on bottom-placed Donegal Celtic at the Showgrounds.