Glenavon will be aiming to continue the unbeaten run that has seen them move top of the table as Gary Hamilton’s men take on Newry City at Mourneview Park tomorrow – NB the game kicks off at 5pm.

The Glenavon manager will have to make at least two enforced changes as Andrew Mitchell (5th caution) and Rhys Marshall, who was sent off for two yellow cards at The Oval last week, are suspended for this game.

Although Glenavon won the previous fixture against today’s opponents it was far from easy with Jonny Tuffey making some crucial saves and, had Darren Mullen’s team taken their chances, it could easily have been a different story.

A Gary Muir penalty and an excellent finish from Steo Donnelly helped the Lurgan Blues to a 2-1 win in that Newry Showgrounds encounter in August and with the suspensions it could be a chance for a place in the starting line-up for both players, though Jordan Jenkins’ late winner at the Oval last week will have given the manager food for thought as he considers his team selection.

17th August 2018. Gary Muir celebrates after netting from the penalty spot. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Hamilton -Inpho

“It (the suspensions) gives two guys the opportunity to come in and stake a claim for a place in the team. Obviously the other boys have been doing extremely well and for the majority of games we’ve been using the same 10 players game after game. There’s never been a situation where we had to make wholesale changes because of a bad result so players will get the opportunity tomorrow and it’s up to them to take their chance when they get it. To be fair to the boys they’ve been on an unbelievable run and it’s harsh on the guys who are suspended but that’s football.

“It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow. Newry gave us an unbelievable game down at Newry that night and, for me, it’s been the game that we struggled in the most this season. We found it really difficult against them and I thought they were tremendous. Since then their form away from home hasn’t been the greatest but we have to put that in context with the performance they put in against us that night. We won it but we didn’t deserve to win it that night and they were definitely the better side on the night and deserved at least a draw.

“We have to give them the respect they’re due tomorrow. People may be saying ‘Newry haven’t done this or that’ but, as we saw last week, Ards hadn’t beaten Linfield in I don’t know how many years and, I keep saying it, Dergview beat us at Mourneview earlier this season and their manager’s just been sacked. We have to go in with the right mentality, not rest on our laurels and underestimate the other team and show them the respect that you show every team. If we do that and we try and win the individual battles all over the pitch, then hopefully we can let our ability do the talking.

“Newry have been on an unbelievable journey over the last four or five seasons and the last thing they want to do is give up their place in theĀ  league without a fight and without giving it everything so we have to be ready for that and be on our guard tomorrow.”

Gary told us he takes issue with some of the post-match comments coming from Glentoran following last Saturday’s bruising encounter at The Oval. “I was disappointed with the treatment that Mark Sykes got last week and I’m even more disappointed that Ronnie (McFall) stated on BBC Sport after the game that our player Mark Sykes said to the referee that he (John Herron) didn’t touch him. Mark never said that and I spoke to him during the week to ask him if it was true and he denies it and said he was caught on the ankle. I think it’s dangerous in this day and age for managers to be coming out and claiming that players said this or that when it wasn’t said and Mark was amazed when he heard this considering the treatment he was subjected to on the pitch.

“I was surprised that Ronnie also stated in his interview that the Calum Birney tackle was ‘just a yellow card’ – if a manager thinks a tackle like that is alright then we’re in for serious trouble because those are leg-breaking tackles and could finish somebody’s career.”

Calum Birney gets his marching orders from Keith Kennedy.

Stats a Fact

  • Glenavon has gone 10 league games without defeat since losing on the opening day (9 wins and 1 draw), matching the unbeaten sequence last season which commenced with a 2-0 home win against Carrick Rangers in September 2017 before losing 0-1 at home to Linfield in November (8 wins and 2 draws).
  • A win against Newry tomorrow would make it league 7 wins on the trot, a feat last achieved towards the end of the 2014-15 season.

Matchday Sponsors

The Match Sponsor is the Glenavon Triangle Supporters Club. Founded in 1949, it is Glenavon’s oldest supporters club.

The Ball Sponsor is Brownlow House Lurgan, an ideal setting for your dream wedding venue, conferences, parties or events or a visit to the magnificent Tea Room or the local history and WW2 museums on site.

The Glenavon Man of the Match is sponsored by the Moira Blues GSC.

Spooky Karaoke Fun

Don’t forget that, following the game, the Bedeck Suite will be the setting for an evening of Halloween fun with Fancy Dress and Karaoke.

Thanks to the sponsors of the prizes for the evening Nando’s Rushmere and Fintan O’Hagan Butchers.

Match Officials

Referee: Jamie Robinson, Assistants: Stephen Donaldson, Bogdan Sfirloaga, 4th Official: Mark Dillon