Irish Premiership: Arkins bullish for Linfield visit

Aaron Burns scores for Linfield in the 4-1 victory over Portadown at Windsor Park in September
Aaron Burns scores for Linfield in the 4-1 victory over Portadown at Windsor Park in September

Portadown boss Vinny Arkins believes the Premiership basement boys can provide a stern test for title-chasing Linfield at Shamrock Park.

The Ports are 10 points adrift at the bottom and in desperate need of a win to boost their bid to avoid relegation.

"No-one is going to want to play us at the minute - we're playing with heart, passion and the supporters are behind us," said Arkins.

"We'll be positive and make it as tough as possible for them."

Linfield will be aiming to bounce back from last weekend's 2-1 defeat by Cliftonville, a result which leaves them trailing pacesetters Crusaders by seven points.

Pitch problems

The Shamrock Park surface has been criticised in the last few seasons and Blues striker Andrew Waterworth says his team must adapt to the conditions.

"We've found it tough at Portadown in the past, playing on their pitch," said Waterworth.

"That's a hurdle we will have to overcome - we just can't play in the beautiful arena that is Windsor Park every week.

"We have to learn to adapt. It's a good test for us and one we need to get the Cliftonville result out of our system."

Stangmore clash for Crues

Crusaders also have a difficult assignment on Saturday, a trip to take on a Dungannon Swifts side which impressively won 4-1 at Ballymena last Saturday.

The Sky Blues slipped to fifth with that defeat but David Jeffrey's side can move above third-placed Cliftonville with victory in a Solitude showdown.

Ballinimallard take on Glenavon at Ferney Park while there's a meeting at the Oval between Glentoran and Ards.

Coleraine are up to fourth after winning their last two league games and the Bannsiders go up against second-from-bottom Carrick Rangers.

Irish Premiership, 26 November - 15:00 GMT
Live coverage on BBC Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website
Ballinamallard UtdvGlenavon
Carrick RangersvColeraine
CliftonvillevBallymena Utd
Dungannon SwiftsvCrusaders