National League Division Two: Preview

League leaders Tyrone take on bottom side Westmeath in Division 2 of the Allianz Football League in Healy Park on Saturday as both sides search for a win for very different reasons.

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Mickey Harte’s men are going for four victories out of four, a feat that would considerably boost their chances of returning to the top tier of league football.

Meanwhile, the Lake County will be hoping to improve on a recent surge in form in the wake of their impressive win over Galway last weekend.

Westmeath endured a dismal start to their 2012 league campaign following consecutive defeats at the hands of Louth and Meath.

However, a never say die attitude was awarded after a Paul Bannon stoppage point earned them a victory over Galway and they will go into Saturday’s game on the back of what is surely a morale boosting performance by Pat Flanagan’s charges.

The red hands have enjoyed a dream start to this year’s league campaign with a clean sheet so far following victories over Kildare and Derry and a stylish win over Louth in Drogheda last weekend.

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte has given youth its chance so far this year with an injection of fresh blood into the team and he is expected to keep faith with his young guns for Saturday’s encounter despite the return of veterans Stephen O’ Neil and Conor Gormley from injury.

Harte has made no secret of the fact that a return to division one league football is very much on his wish list this year.

However, Tyrone will be careful not to underestimate a Westmeath outfit following their unexpected victory over Galway as well as the return of midfielder John Heslin from Australia and Garry castle’s qualification for the All-Ireland SFC club final.

As Westmeath look to maintain their position in Division two football and Tyrone seek to assert their dominance, Saturday’s game will be a tense encounter.

However, Harte’s men have the edge in terms of experience and young talent and coupled with the advantage of a home tie, it may be enough to see them through.

Verdict: Tyrone.

The game will kick-off in Healy Park, Omagh at 7pm on Saturday.


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