Monday night football returns to Seaview this week and Crusaders play Ballinamallard United in the Danske Bank Premiership with only a week to the split. Crusaders sit top of the table by four points before the game and will look to push it out further again while Ballinamallard sit eight points clear of the Championship play off spot and still need points to avoid getting sucked into that position. A lot to play for means a good game in prospect.
Crusaders will go into the game practically full strength except for captain Colin Coates who will be out until next season as he will undergo ankle surgery this week. It means that Sean O'Neill will see a change in his back four and Billy Joe Burns, Howard Beverland and Craig McClean could be joined by Alan Keane who will be straight switch for Coates in the side at centre half. Midfield will see the return of Paul Heatley out on the wing with Gavin Whyte on the other but the centre of midfield is where the real selection headache will be after super performances by Richard Clarke and Philip Lowry last week and it remains to be seen if Stephen Baxter retains them alongside Jordan Forsythe or brings in the available Declan Caddell, Michael Carvill or one of the other talented midfielders. Up front expect Jordan Owens to start but Mikael Suarez is available if required.
Ballinamallard United will go into the game looking to get back to winning ways having lost their last three Premiership games after a decent start to 2017. They where managing to pull themselves away from danger but that form has stalled and Crusaders need to be alert to them gatting back to winning again. United have been scoring goals and Adam Leckey is the main threat with eleven goals so far and Ryan Mayse with six. This game is always a hard fought contest and it will be nothing less again.
Our two meetings in the Premiership this season has Crusaders winning both (5-1 at Seaview and 1-0 at Ferney Park) and hopefully this form will continue.
So all set for Match Day 32 in the Danske Bank Premiership. Kick Off is 7.45pm and we will have another Raise The Bar Inititative before the game starting at 6.30pm. There is also "kids for a quid" and "pay what you want to watch" promotions. To top it all off the Sky Sports cameras will be there and it will be live across Europe and beyond. Let us get out in numbers and be part of a great evenings entertainment. We need your support more now than ever as we enter the business end of the season. Sing loud and proud and be part of this amazing journey once again. Show we are Crusaders family and we are in this together. See you on Monday night. Keep The Faith,