Glenavon travel to the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds tomorrow to take on Coleraine for the penultimate game before the split. With both teams’ top six places secured there is still plenty to play for with European places up for grabs as the season moves towards a thrilling climax.
Joel Cooper and Mark Sykes are away on International duty with the NI Under 21 and Under 19 sides respectively so Gary Hamilton had the option of calling off both Saturday’s game and Tuesday’s home tie with Ballymena United but he was reluctant to have two games to catch up on so it’s just the Easter Tuesday fixture that is postponed.
Andy Kilmartin sits out the game tomorrow as he completes a two-game suspension, Simon Kelly is a doubt and David Elebert faces a fitness test ahead of the game. Young defender Caolon Marron is suspended after he was sent off for the Reserves during the week and teenage striker Alex McIlmail, who impressed in his Mid-Ulster Cup appearance, is away with the NI Under 17 squad. Kris Lindsay and Ciaran Martyn are however available again for selection.
“We’re basically down to the bare bones,” Gary told us. “Out of a squad of 21 first team players, we have basically 12 fit players available, including myself. We’ll still be able to field a side that is capable of competing but we’ll need everyone to perform. If we need to change it we won’t have the experienced heads on the bench but we’ll be giving it our best shot.”
The Glenavon boss is focussing on a win tomorrow which would put an eight point gap between the two sides and keep pace with second placed Linfield who moved to within two points of leaders Crusaders with Wednesday’s Windsor Park win against Ballinamallard United. “We want to make sure we keep in 3rd place as, with the potential Cup Final situation, that would guarantee us a place in Europe for the third season in succession, something that Glenavon has never achieved before.”
Oran Kearney’s team is looking to get back on track after losing to a late Matt Hazley goal in last week’s game with Dungannon Swifts at The Showgrounds. A win for the Bannsiders would see them close the gap to Glenavon to just two points so it’s all to play for both sides tomorrow.
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|Raymond Hetherington||Kristian Hanna||John Grealey||Tony Clarke|