Monday night’s play-off semi-final against Cliftonville at Solitude (kick off 7:45pm) is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season so far for Glenavon. Following the disappointment of losing to Coleraine in the Irish Cup semi-final, it’s a chance to make the final next Friday night, against either Ballymena Utd. or Dungannon Swifts, with a vital place in next season’s Europa League at stake.
“The fans have a massive role to play on Monday night,” Gary Hamilton feels. “It’s a semi-final and you want as much support there as possible, you want the fans to be positive and back the boys as they have done all year. This season, so far, we’ve let the fans down a little bit but, on Monday night, we want to try our best to make them happy and get them into the final. Our aim at the start of these is to achieve European qualification and hopefully, with their backing and their support like they gave us in the semifinals and finals of the two Irish cup wins and the game against Portadown when Andy McGrory scored the penalty to clinch European qualification, their support that day was magnificent, the boys will buzz off that and hopefully get them a result.”
Aaron Canning has back problems that are exacerbated by playing on plastic pitches so he’s not likely to feature on Monday. In better news, Caolan Marron, who limped off with an ankle injury in the final league game at Seaview, has managed to train on Thursday night and Saturday morning. “Guy Bates hasn’t been able to play or train since he hurt his knee against Cliftonville in the league game so he could be a doubt and Chris Turner probably won’t make this game but there’s an outside chance he could be fit for the final if we were to make that but he looks a major doubt for both games. The rest of the players should be all available with a bit of luck,” Gary told us. “It was important to get the game on Tuesday night to get boys games who hadn’t had games for a while and we had good training sessions on Thursday night and Saturday morning and hopefully we can bring that into the game on Monday night and get a positive result.”
“It’s a semi-final on Monday night and whoever turns up, whoever is braver, will win the game. We’ve let ourselves down in two semi-finals this season and we don’t want to let ourselves down in the third one.”
No tickets are required so let’s see a huge Glenavon support at Solitude on Monday night to get behind the team and cheer them on to victory. #GHBAWA