Warrenpoint come to Mourneview Park for Saturday’s Danske Bank Premiership fixture buoyed by coming within seconds of a famous victory against Linfield at Windsor Park. Glenavon old boy Simon Kelly had given his side a first-half lead from the penalty spot which they held until the 96th minute when Andrew Waterworth snatched an equaliser.
With Glenavon losing in the league for the first time since the opening day in Friday night’s televised match at Ballymena, that draw for Stephen McDonnell’s side ensured that the Lurgan Blues remained top on goals scored ahead of Linfield, both sides being tied on points and goal difference.
Gary Hamilton, who won a second successive Football Writers Manager of the Month Award on the back of a faultless October, will be aiming to bounce back from that Ballymena defeat with a win that would keep his side on top of the table but he knows it won’t be easy. “We saw Warrenpoint at the start of the season when nearly everyone was tipping them to be relegated but from the first game we played them I said there’s no way they would get relegated – there’s too much quality in their squad. In fact, on current form they’re probably in the top three or four in the league. I think in the last eight games they’ve won four, drawn two and lost two which is a good record for any team.
“There’s quality in their side: Robbie Norton’s there on loan (though ineligible tomorrow), Simon Kelly has been excellent for them and the two lads up front and Marc Griffin are decent as well. Last week they were probably 30 seconds away from beating Linfield so we know that they’ll be dangerous tomorrow and we’ll have to be on our toes and be able to match them for fight and endeavour and their quality because they have some quality in their side as well. The goalkeeper that they’ve brought in (Aaron McCarey) has been outstanding since he’s come in. By all accounts last week against Linfield he made a lot of saves so we know that when we get our chances we have to take them and punish the opposition.
“The boys can take plenty of positives from the game last week even though we lost as we thought we had done enough to get something from the game and on another night you would have got something. Ballymena’s a good side this year, they’re going really well under Davy Jeffrey and we can’t be too negative on the performance last week. If somebody had told us that at this stage we’d only have lost two games, one at home to Linfield and one away to Ballymena, then I think everyone around the Club would have taken that.”
As well as Town skipper Simon Kelly, striker Marc Griffin could also be facing his former Glenavon teammates with Glenavon’s top scorer Stephen Murray in line for another appearance against his old side. Murray bagged one of the goals in his first game against his former team, a thrilling 3-3 draw at MVP in January, just after joining Glenavon from Warrenpoint in the transfer window.
Andrew Doyle is set to miss the next couple of months after requiring further surgery today on his troublesome knee injury and Stephen Donnelly also misses out tomorrow after twisting his knee in training earlier in the week. Gary is hoping it’s nothing serious but Steo will be given time to fully recover.
The sides met in the second game of the season back in August at Milltown with Glenavon emerging 4-2 winners but it wasn’t an easy victory. Andrew Mitchell had one of his best games so far in a Glenavon shirt, scoring two and setting up another for Stephen Donnelly.
Act of Remembrance
All supporters are reminded that they are welcome to attend the annual Act of Remembrance in memory of those Glenavon players who lost their lives in WW1 which will be held at 2:15pm tomorrow.
The service will be conducted by club chaplain Rev Paul Whitaker and wreaths will be laid on behalf of the Club, all Glenavon supporters clubs and the local Northern Ireland supporters club. A wreath will also be laid by a visiting Coventry City supporter.
Last 5 league games:
Glenavon: W W W W L
Warrenpoint: W W L L D
Stats a Fact
- The sides have met a total of 13 times in the league since Warrenpoint’s promotion to the top tier of the Irish League
- Glenavon has won 9, drawn 3 and lost just once, scoring 31 goals, conceding 17, taking 30 points from a possible 39.
- Average goals per game: 3.7
Referee: Lee Tavinder, Assistants: Gareth Eakin, Adrian Sobieski, 4th Official: Ben McMaster
Referee Lee Tavinder is taking charge of a Glenavon game for the second time this season. The previous game was the 2-0 win away to Ards in September, a result that saw Glenavon go top of the league.
The match is jointly sponsored by the Victoria GSC and McQuillan’s Menswear & Wedding Hire Portadown.
The Ball Sponsor is Paul Rankin and the Glenavon Man of the Match Award is sponsored by A.D. Window Cleaning.
Glenavon FC is grateful for the support of all our sponsors and we hope our supporters will reciprocate.