1) Can Warrenpoint surprise Reds again?

The first officially scheduled Friday night football match takes places at Solitude this weekend as top takes on bottom. With Cliftonville aiming to make it six straight league wins and Barry Gray’s side looking to avoid their fifth straight defeat, this one may feel like a foregone conclusion.

The Reds did however need a 94th minute equaliser, following on from a controversial penalty decision, to avoid defeat at Milltown earlier in the campaign – and the hosts also missed a spot kick of their own in that match.
The last time the two met at Solitude ended in a 1-1 draw too.

However, despite the champions missing Johnny Flynn and Ryan Catney, they’ll be confident of extending their lead at the top to five points, for a day at least. Point bass Gray has already blasted his men as ‘looking like a Championship side’, and if they’re not careful that’s where they’ll be playing next campaign. Anything gained in this one will be a bonus.

2) Can Coleraine continue run and end Ballymena derby day misery?

These sides last met only seven weeks ago, yet in that time so much has changed. It was Ballymena who claimed the bragging rights that day, claiming a narrow 2-1 victory at the home of the Bannsiders. It was a result which ensured the Sky Blues remained joint top of the league table while Coleraine continued to flounder in 10th place.

Facts can sometime do an injustice to the real storyline – on that day Coleraine were the superior team, spurning a number of chances and having won away at Cliftonville the previous week.

Since then, Ballymena have mustered only two points in their six-game winless run since while Coleraine have won five matches and kept four clean sheets, meaning they are now four points ahead of their rivals from down the M2.

That said, Glenn Ferguson’s men haven’t lost in five against Coleraine despite having lost the previous seven on the bounce beforehand.

The Sky Blues will be without suspended defensive duo Tony Kane and Johnny Taylor, and have conceded four goals in each of the last two matches, and it’s logical to put Oran Kearney’s side down as favourites for this clash.

3) Can Glentoran join the leading pack?

This will be the third clash between the clubs in 35 days with Glentoran winning both, but the first at The Oval since a youthful Lurgan Blues side hammered Glentoran 0-4. It had been Glenavon’s second win in East Belfast in the space of a month, having ended a 15-year winless run at the stadium.

A fiery match at Mourneview Park last week saw Glenavon fall to a late defeat against Linfield, and the red card brandished to attacker Kevin Braniff will see him miss this trip to Glentoran. That match ended a three-game winning run for the club and they’ve won each of their last two away games 1-4.

A win for Glentoran in this one would see them leapfrog their opponents on goal difference, and have hit nine goals in their past two league outings.

Neither club has realistic title ambitions this campaign, but this match will be a useful marker if either are strong enough to be amongst the leading pack in the table.

4) Can Swifts find first league win at Windsor?

Dungannon have established themselves as a top-flight club, but now in their 12th season as a top flight club they have never won a league match at Windsor Park.
Indeed, the Swifts have only ever won match away to Linfield in their history – a 0-3 victory in the League Cup in 2008, but even that was overshadowed by the Mid-Ulster side collapsing to a 1-4 home defeat in the return leg to crash out.

Dungannon have not even managed a league point at Windsor in the past eight seasons, and with only one league victory to their name this season that may well be the aim this Saturday.

The Blues will be without suspended Seanan Clucas, sent-off at Mourneview Park last week, and will be aiming to maintain their 100% winning record against teams in the bottom half of the table this season.

5) Can Crues continue strong form against Mallards?

Any slip-up by the Reds on Friday night could well be capitalised upon by North Belfast rivals Crusaders, who will be searching for their eighth win in nine encounters with the Mallards since the Fermanagh’s club promotion in 2012.

If Cliftonville lose, the Crues would go clear at the top with a win but would need to win by three goals if Tommy Breslin’s men draw, and the Seaview side are currently the league’s top scorers with 34 goals.

Whitey Anderson’s men will be looking to avoid a third straight league defeat, but with their previous matches coming against Cliftonville and Portadown that will not be as immediate a cause of concern as it originally appears. The Ferney Park outfit will be looking once again to hold their top-flight status this year and sitting three points above the promotion/relegation play-off, they will fancy their chances of achieving that.

Kick-offs 3pm unless otherwise stated.

Danske Bank Premiership:
Cliftonville v Warrenpoint Town (7.45pm) (Friday night)
Ballinamallard United v Crusaders
Ballymena United v Coleraine
Glentoran v Glenavon
Linfield v Dungannon Swifts
Portadown v Institute

Championship One:
Donegal Celtic v Loughgall (2pm)
Knockbreda v Dundela (2pm)
Lisburn Distillery v H&W Welders (2pm)
PSNI v Ballyclare Comrades (2pm)
Ards v Larne
Armagh City v Bangor
Carrick Rangers v Dergview

Championship Two:
Coagh United v Ballymoney United (2pm)
Glebe Rangers v Banbridge Town (2pm)
Lurgan Celtic v Tobermore United (2pm)
Portstewart v Wakehurst (2pm)
QUB v Limavady United (2pm)
Moyola Park v Annagh United
Newington v Dollingstown