Glenavon travel to the National Stadium at Windsor Park on Saturday with both teams unbeaten so far in the Danske Bank Premiership. Gary Hamilton’s Glenavon have a two point lead over David Healy’s Linfield thanks to two wins and a draw in the opening three games in which the Belfast Blues have drawn two after beating Ballinamallard United on the opening day.
A hard-fought 0-0 draw against the Champions Crusaders last weekend will have pleased Healy, especially considering that Linfield had to play the last forty minutes with ten men after Stephen Lowry was sent off for a second yellow card in the 51st minute.
Gary Hamilton once again was delighted with the never-say-die attitude of his players as they twice came from behind to beat Cliftonville last Saturday, a result that followed on from a comeback 3-3 draw having been 3-0 down at Ballymena the previous Wednesday. The Mourneview boss was pleased with how his side started the game against the Reds but he would much prefer to turn that early domination into goals and not be relying on the undoubted spirit and determination of his players to dig out results.
“In the end if we keep on winning games I don’t really care how we do it,” Gary told us in his preview. “Last week I thought the lads were brilliant from start to finish and they really showed their character especially when we went 2-1 behind. That was really against the run of play and it would have been easy for the lads’ heads to drop but they didn’t and in the end we got the win we deserved.”
Last season there wasn’t much between the sides in any of the games with two league wins to Linfield, one to Glenavon and a draw; the Lurgan Blues scoring seven goals to Linfield’s eight. Glenavon of course triumphed 2-0 in the Irish Cup Final but Gary Hamilton is expecting another hard-fought game. “They have signed three quality players with International experience and it’ll be another tough game tomorrow.”
Simon Kelly and Declan ‘Fabio’ O’Brien are ‘getting there’ according to the Glenavon boss and it’s likely that Fabio will make the bench tomorrow. “We have quite a number of players still out but the guys who have been playing have done really well and it’s their job to keep playing well, keep winning games, and they’ll keep the shirt, ” Gary concluded.
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