Glenavon finishes the league campaign with the second of three trips to Belfast. Last Tuesday night saw the Lurgan Blues lose 3-0 to Linfield at Windsor Park and tomorrow it’s off to Solitude with the campaign finishing against the Champions at Seaview next Saturday.
Rhys Marshall completes his two game ban tomorrow but Gary Hamilton’s selection choices are still limited by injuries and potential bans for Mark Sykes and David Elebert who are both on 9 cautions and Ciaran Martyn who is on four cautions so a further booking for any of those three would rule them out of the play-off games. “On Tuesday night I literally only had 16 players available to me,” Gary explained. “Simon Kelly and Kris Lindsay were both injured from Saturday, Kyle Neill was at his brother’s wedding and I couldn’t risk the boys who are one booking away from a suspension.
“Obviously I was disappointed with the result the other night but for 20 minutes we were well in it and, looking back at the highlights, we should have had a penalty, the decision didn’t go our way, then we conceded a goal from a mistake which was so uncharacteristic of James. That gave Linfield the momentum and confidence that they needed and then we made another mistake a couple of minutes later and it’s 2-0 and unfortunately our heads went down.
“We played the players we had available but unfortunately it didn’t work out but the other night does show the importance of those players who are running the risk of suspension and injury and how much they’re needed. The last thing we can do is risk putting all these players out of the two important (play-off) games. I share the fans’ frustrations in terms of the result but unfortunately we’re at the stage of the season when there’s nothing we can do about it and needs must at the end of the day in terms of what we’re doing and trying to do.”
Aaron Canning and Joel Cooper join the injury list, the latter as a result of a poor challenge by Paul Smyth that somehow wasn’t punished by a red card on Tuesday night. There is some good news though with Simon Kelly and Chris Turner back from injury.
Glenavon and Cliftonville have met four times so far this season, three times in the league and once in the quarter final of the League Cup. Glenavon have the slight advantage with two wins and a draw; the one defeat was the only one of those four games at Solitude.
Supporters are reminded to check the important advice published yesterday.