Ballymena Utd are the visitors to The Oval tonight for a rearranged Danske Bank Premiership fixture. The game originally scheduled for 22nd December was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. A professional performance on Saturday against minnows Killymoon Rangers saw Glentoran into the last 16 of the Irish Cup. However our league form has suffered from inconsistency with defeats to Linfield and Cliftonville, a draw with Coleraine and just one win against Donegal Celtic in our last few games. This slip has seen Glentoran lose ground on the top 3 in the Danske Bank Premiership. We are now 7 points behind 3rd placed Linfield as we hope to cut the gap tonight in our game in hand. Coleraine and Ballinamallard are right on our tails and Portadown improving which could make the battle for the top 6 a difficult one.
For tonight's game, Richard Clarke and David Howland are set to miss out again and Colin Nixon confirmed on the radio on Saturday evening that he is still a few weeks away from fitness. Stephen McAlorum also misses out through suspension. Jay Magee may return from an injury that kept him out of Saturday's game.
Our visitors Ballymena Utd return to the source of their first trophy for 23 years as they defeated Linfield on penalties in the County Antrim Shield Final at The Oval recently. However since the Shield success, Ballymena have suffered a slump in form resulting in 6 straight Danske Bank Premiership defeats including a comprenhensive defeat to rivals Coleraine. They have slipped to 8th in the table and need to start winning games if they are to join the battle for the top 6.
New signings Gary Liggett and Shane Dolan are expected to add more fire power up front for United with Dolan already scoring against Glentoran at Suffolk Road for Donegal Celtic. Including the Co Antrim Shield Final, Ballymena Utd have won 4 of their last 5 visits to The Oval, a record Glentoran will need to put straight tonight if we are to maintain 4th position.