Glenavon faces a tough trip to Seaview tomorrow to take on the league leaders who maintained their two point lead at the top of the table with a 1-1 draw on the Shore Road against second placed Coleraine on Tuesday night.

In Glenavon’s home tie against Linfield on the same night, the Lurgan Blues were left to rue careless defending that gifted the visitors two goals on a night when Gary Hamilton’s men should have had at least two penalties for hand ball.

Mark Sykes scores last time out at Seaview. Photo by Alan Weir

Mark Sykes returns from suspension but Sammy Clingan, whose free kick led to one of the penalty appeals when it was deflected over the bar by the arm of Stephen Lowry in the Linfield wall, will not be risked on the synthetic surface at Seaview. Simon Kelly is a doubt as well with a groin problem so, with Caolan Marron (foot) and Kris Lindsay (knee) also ruled out and Andrew Doyle’s chances of making the game only rated at 50/50, it’s going to require a re-shuffled defensive line-up for Gary Hamilton.

“That’s just the way it is; it’s part and parcel of football so there’s no point in moaning about it. We have to just get on with it and give it our best shot. When you’ve got a small squad you’re going to hit hard if there’s a situation when you get injuries and suspensions as most clubs do. Unfortunately we don’t have the finances of the likes of Linfield and Crusaders being the main ones but after Coleraine and Ballymena getting to Europe last year, they’ve been able to increase their squads whereas we had to decrease ours. It’s unfortunate but that’s football.

“I do know that supporters are saying ‘why don’t we get centre half’s and why don’t we get this and that’ but at the end of the day you can only get it if you’ve got the finances to do so. We’ve got a good quality squad but it’s light in numbers and at centre half we’ve been so unfortunate this season with injuries. It’s been a bit of a nightmare at that position this season. In terms of the players whenever they’re fit they’ve done extremely well and for a good part of the season we were able to alternate them and always have two available. It’s only in the last month or so when Caolan broke down that left us with one.

“Of course we’re expecting a tough game tomorrow but any game with Crusaders is tough at any stage of the season, even with a full squad. We have to go there with confidence that we can get a result; there’s no point going there and giving up before the game’s played. We went there the last time and won 3-2 and put in a really good performance so we have to believe that we can win. I’m not saying we will win but we have to believe that if we perform to our maximum then there’s a chance of coming away with a result. It’s a good test for the boys, another challenge and, as I said to them, you should welcome these challenges, go there and give it everything you’ve got and hopefully get a bit of luck for a change.”

Form Guide

Last Five League Games

Crusaders: W L W W D

Glenavon: L D D L L

Head to Head (last 10 all competitions)

Glenavon: W 3 D 1 L 6 F 17 A 29

 Match Officials