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Glenavon open the Club’s Europa League campaign on Thursday night at Mourneview Park with the visit of Belarus side Shakhtyor Soligorsk (kick off 7:45pm). The Belarus Premier League season is already well underway, and Shakhtyor, who qualified for the competition by winning their domestic cup competition last season, have already played 12 league games, are in 3rd place and will certainly be match fit. Shakhtyor defeated Derry City 6-1 on aggregate in last season’s Europa League Second Qualifying Round.

Gary Hamilton has his squad as well-prepared as possible, with an early return to pre-season training and having played three friendly games including two against top Welsh and Scottish sides TNS and St. Johnstone. “It’s a tough ask for us but we’ve prepared thoroughly and we’re ready for the challenge,” Gary told us on Wednesday afternoon. “The lads have given up their time to come back early for pre-season and have really worked hard and I know that they’ll give their all against Shakhtyor.

“The fans have a massive part to play as well, as they have done in our ‘big games’ like last season’s Irish Cup semi-final and final and the game against Portadown that got us here this season. If they all get behind us and cheer us on from first whistle to the last, it really does lift the players and helps them put in the performance we need.

“We’ve watched the videos of Shakhtyor’s games and they are a very good side with most of their squad having international experience. On our day we can match anyone, as we showed against St. Johnstone. We’ll be positive without being gung-ho and I’ve told the players to take everything they can out of these two games. At the very least, these games will be a great preparation for the new season.”

Glenavon's Mark Patton in action with St. Johnstone's David Wotherspoon Picture by Stephen Hamilton/ Presseye

Glenavon’s Mark Patton in action with St. Johnstone’s David Wotherspoon
Picture by Stephen Hamilton/ Presseye

Ones to Watch

Shakhtyor’s leading goal scorer this season is 30-year old striker Nikolai Yanush who has bagged four goals so far and he was his Club’s leading goal scorer last season with 15 goals. His strike partner, 6′ 1″ 24-year old Serbian Nemanja Covic has chipped in with three goals. The midfield also carries a goal threat with a total of five goals from the 12 league games played so far.

©/ - 17th July 2014.  Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - Europa League Second Qualifying Round, Derry City v FC Shakhtyor Salihorsk. Shakhtyor Salihorsk's Nikolai Yanush celebrates his goal. Mandatory Credit Photo Lorcan Doherty /

Shakhtyor Salihorsk’s Nikolai Yanush celebrates after scoring at The Brandywell against Derry City in last season’s Europa League Second Qualifying Round. Photo Credit : Lorcan Doherty /

Supporter Information

Please click here to read the important information for Supporters for this match.

Admission charges are £12 and £8 and children of primary school age will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Our Sponsors

Glenavon FC is very grateful for the support of our sponsors for this game.

BMG InsuranceThe Joint Match Sponsors are BMG Insurance Group and Green Shoots Garden Centre Belfast.

Established in 1972, BMG Group is a family run business with offices in Portadown, Lurgan and Belfast. It has an excellent reputation for providing a quality and friendly service to all its Clients. BMG transacts all Classes of Insurance for both the private and commercial market.

The Ball Sponsor is Billy Crozier and the Glenavon Man of the Match award is sponsored by Lucy Kerr.

 Match Officials

Referee: Dag Vidar HAFSÅS (NOR)
Assistant 1: Sven Erik MIDTHJELL (NOR)
Assistant 2: Svein Inge WIKEN (NOR)
4th Official: Martin LUNDBY (NOR)