Gary Hamilton says that Glenavon need to be on their A-game if they are going to see off Coleraine in this weekend’s Danske Bank Premiership clash.
Last season’s league runners up come to Mourneview Park on Saturday with Glenavon still looking for their first win of the season.
“It’s another tough match,” admits Gary.
“They’ve been flying over the last couple of seasons and finished very close to Linfield. Who knows what could have happened if the season had gone on.
“Oran’s come back and and they’ve enjoyed a resurgence under him. It’s clear the players all enjoy playing under him, they all know him and they have been able to adjust to the way he does things. He’s got a great squad – while we were losing some of our better players to England and Scotland they have been able to keep hold of theirs with the exception of Brad Lyons.”
A game against the Bannsiders will be a “tough challenge” for any team in the Premiership this season, the Glenavon manager added.
“Even in the game they lost to Ballymena at the start of the season they were dominant and created a lot of chances – they didn’t deserve to lose the game,” he said.
“We have have to take confidence from a couple of sound performances defensively. We kept a clean sheet last week and defended ever so well down at the Oval. A big part of Coleraine’s game is that they are very good going forward so we need to be on our toes.
“We need to punish teams at the other end too. We need to take our chances and be better in the final third in order for us to win the game.”
One of the big concerns coming out of last week’s scoreless stalemate against Dungannon Swifts was our lack of creativity in the final third. It’s something that Gary and the coaching staff have been working on again this week in training with the players.
“We always work on our weaknesses,” Gary commented.
“After the first game against Portadown when we defended so poorly we went and worked on the defensive side of the game and got that part of the game right.
“Going forward our final ball hasn’t been so good so we have been working on that all week in training.
“We need that quality going forward, we can’t rely on defenders all the time. That’s not just strikers, that’s our midfielders too. We need to get more shots off and into the box more.”
Glenavon will have Peter Campbell available once again following his suspension while Andrew Doyle continues to serve a suspension for his straight red card at the Oval.
Otherwise Gary has a full squad to pick from, although quite a few of those players are not match fit due to the club’s U20 team not being able to play at the moment due to the restrictions currently in place.
LAST TIME OUT – March 3, 2020, Coleraine 2-1 Glenavon: Coleraine went in at half time with a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Stewart Nixon and James McLaughlin. Glenavon enjoyed a better second half and Conor McCloskey reduced the deficit with a 20 yard free kick but the hosts held on to secure a victory which took them to within four points of leaders Linfield.
REFEREE: Evan Boyce
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Ken Ross, Neil Gillespie
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Neil Robinson
MATCH SPONSOR: Triangle GSC
BALL SPONSOR: SM Vint & Co, Banbridge
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR: Jonathan Burns