It’s back to league action tomorrow as Glenavon head to The Oval to take on Glentoran in Danske Bank Premiership match number 28. The two previous meetings between the sides this season have ended in draws, 1-1 at Mourneview in November and 2-2 at The Oval on our last visit back in September.
Joel Cooper scored in both those games including a spectacular moment of individual brilliance in the Oval game as Glenavon came back to take the lead after going a goal down in the 20th minute. He also put Glenavon ahead in the home fixture before former Lurgan Blues defender Jay Magee equalised with 25 minutes to go.
Eoin Bradley and Joel Cooper celebrate after Cooper gave Glenavon the lead at Mourneview Park. Photo by Alan Weir
“They’ve been tight games this season especially the one at The Oval when we were leading until late on and then we could have had a penalty at the end but we ended up drawing it. That’s probably been the story of our season when in a lot games we’ve been in good positions and we haven’t seen it out or a refereeing decision has also maybe cost us as well,” Gary told us.
“The Oval is a difficult place to go; no matter where Glentoran are sitting in the league it’s always a difficult game. They’ve struggled against the lower sides this season but they’ve always matched the bigger teams. It’s been a similar story for ourselves this season. Ok, we maybe haven’t been getting beaten by many of the lower sides but we’ve drawn a lot of games against them.
“Tomorrow we’re going there and our aim is to try and win the game. We have the ability to win the game, we know that, but it’s how we turn up and how we perform and we have to make sure we’re right, mentally first and foremost and we’re up for it because they are one of the teams in and around us that could maybe replace us in that sixth position and that’s something we don’t want. We want to make sure we’re in the top six, minimum, and, if we can, we would like to finish a bit further up than that. Whether that’s possible or not remains to be seen but we want to win as many games as possible.
“The other side of the coin is that there’s places up for grabs in the Irish Cup quarter final against our derby rivals Portadown. It’s important when they get their chance in the team that their perfomances are high and they do well enough to keep the shirt. If they don’t, come the Portadown game, they might not be in the team. That’s a wee carrot dangling in front of them and the players have to make sure they get that carrot and they’re in the team come the Portadown game. They only way they can do that between now and then is by winning games because I don’t change a winning team.
“If the team that plays tomorrow wins and continues to win until the Portadown game, that’ll be the same team in the Portadown match.”