The DUP is going great guns in an attempt to capture South Belfast back for unionism.
There are reports Peter Robinson has come out of mothballs to take over as campaign manager for candidate Emma Little Pengelly, the former Junior Minister.
But Sinn Fein is also confident in a first-past-the-post context its standard bearer Mairtin O Muilleoir can emerge victorious, re-doubling the resurgent republican message from the Assembly elections.
But both the unionist and republican camps know they can never underestimate the sitting tenant, former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell, who could once again come through the middle of the two sectarian blocs particularly with tactical votes from perhaps Alliance and Green supporters, among others.
Though traditionally a unionist citadel, where the Ulster Unionists’ Rev Martin Smyth carried all before him for 22 years, nationalist McDonnell has now held the seat, which takes in the southern quarter of Belfast City Council and adjacent parts of Lisburn and Castlereagh District Council, since 2005.
But the DUP was the largest party in the Assembly election (a 20.8% share) and believes a good cross-section of the UUP vote (9%) will heed their ‘wake up call’ for unionism in the aftermath of SF’s Stormont advances and loan the DUP a vote this time, even if some have to hold their nose to do so.
Yet South Belfast has a more middle class population in economic terms, where 37% of working age adults are engaged in professional or managerial occupations, which is thought likely to assist the SDLP and McDonnell also has the incumbency factor in his favour.
Ulster Unionist Michael Henderson will be hoping to improve on the performance of Rodney McCune and other UUP candidates from recent years but, along with Clare Bailey, deputy leader of the Greens, and despite her high profile, and the lesser-known Clare Salier of the Conservatives, seems likely to be squeezed between the Big Beasts.