Tomorrow Glenavon travel to the Oval for their first away game of the new season.
It will be a tough encounter for the visitors, given the number of injuries and players missing.
Throw into the mix the fact that away fans are not permitted to attend the Oval under the current restrictions and you can see why it is likely to be a difficult day for Gary Hamilton’s side.
Supporters can still follow the game by following Glentoran’s live stream – details of how to do so are available by clicking here, while Glenavon will be providing text commentary through our Twitter feed.
“It will be different with no away fans,” said the Glenavon boss.
“When it comes to Glenavon supporters I’ve always said our away fans are usually noiser than our home fans and I think that’s the case for most clubs as it’s your hardcore who travel.
“In my career I’ve never played in front of anything like it. Even when we went to Europe we had 15-20 people there. Tomorrow will be something new for me and the players.
“It’s hard to say how much of a difference it makes until you experience it and certainly fans have made a difference over the years. I think back to our Irish Cup win at the Oval the week that Mark Farren died and the impact that the fans had on that occasion.
“Yes, the only fans that we will hear tomorrow will be the home fans but sometimes that can work the other way too – it can gee you up, you want to get over on them and I’ve seen that happen in football too.”
Gary and his coaching staff will be travelling with another depleted squad due to injuries and players missing through track and trace. It’s fair to say that the Lurgan Blues will be going into the game as the underdogs, but that could work to our benefit, according to Gary.
“They’ll be expected to push for the league title so going down there to their own patch won’t be easy. It’ll be the same for everybody who goes down there. The big teams will be expecting to take full points from their home games with the calibre of players that they have.
“Nobody will be giving us a chance but sometimes that works in your favour. You can go there and leave it all on the pitch and hope that you get a positive result from it.
“We’re down by a few numbers at the minute, but it is what it is. Every team will be going through that. We are down to about 13 players this week – it was the same last week, we were down to 14 or 15 first team players but that’s the times we live in at the minute.
“It’s tough for us from that perspective because you’d like to go to Glentoran with your full quota of players to choose from but unfortunately we aren’t able to do that.”
Gary added that he really wants to see that his team has “learned from our mistakes” following last week’s defeat to Portadown.
“I want to see that we are not being punished with goals coming from down the side of us. I want to see us improve on the quality of our final delivery and our end product because last week it wasn’t good enough,” he said.
“We have worked all week on the defensive side and the delivery side so we want to see improvement. We’ve gone through the video footage so they could see it visually as well.
“Hopefully we can perform as well as we did in terms of having possession of the ball and getting into the right areas, because we certainly did that last Saturday.”
LAST TIME WE MET: Glenavon came from behind twice to earn a point in a pulsating 2-2 draw with Glentoran at Mourneview Park. Navid Nasseri put the Glens ahead on 17 minutes, while Danny Purkis headed in Glenavon’s equaliser in the 37th minute. Nasseri grabbed his and Glentoran’s second goal on the hour mark, before Aaron Harmon scored Glenavon’s second equaliser in bizarre circumstances 11 minutes later.
REFEREE: Lee Tavinder
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Gareth Eakin, John Doherty
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Gareth Stewart