There’s a massive game in prospect for both Glenavon and Crusaders tonight as the two teams prepare to meet at Seaview this evening (7.45pm, live on 247.tv/niprem for £10).
As it stands, only a point separates Glenavon, who lie eighth in the Danske Bank Premiership, from both the Crues and Ballymena United, in sixth and seventh respectively.
The Lurgan Blues have a game in hand over both sides, with a trip to Warenpoint Town on Tuesday night followed up by the visit of Linfield next Saturday (5.30pm, live on the BBC iPlayer).
“All of the games are going to be massive, including the game against Warrenpoint on Tuesday,” Glenavon assistant manager Paul McAreavey said.
“We have got ourselves into a great position now. It’s been a long time coming. The guys have been absolutely outstanding – the amount of games that they have had to deal with has been phenomenal, it’s something that we have never seen before. They’ve stuck to it and they’ve given their all for the club, every last one of them.
“The attitude of everyone has been outstanding, it’s great to see and we’re delighted with the group.”
Glenavon will be without Robbie Garrett, who went off during last Saturday’s win over Ballymena United with an injury, but Andy Hall and Andy Doyle are set to return.
‘Maccers’ told Glenavon Media that he expects Crusaders to once again be a tough nut to crack.
“We’ve beat Crusaders twice this season so they will be chomping at the bit not to let us win three. We need to be focused on that,” he said.
“They are a quality, quality side and we know it’s going to be so, so tough down there.
“That said, we have nothing to fear. We’re playing quite well and we’ve got to go there with that belief that we can go and get the result.”
REFEREE: Ross Dunlop
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Gareth Eakin, Ken Ross
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Gareth Stewart
LAST TIME OUT: Conor McCloskey’s late wonderstrike earned Glenavon a rare three points at Seaview.
And a fine save at the other end from Craig Hyland ensured a clean sheet.
McCloskey, who had been playing in the middle of the park in place of Michael O’Connor, was moved out to the left flank after Campbell was substituted. He took up possession on the touchline, cut inside past a defender, and curled a fantastic drive past Tuffey from 20 yards out with 90 minutes on the clock – surely a contender for Glenavon’s goal of the season.
Four minutes of added time went up on the Fourth Official’s board. Crusaders won a corner on 93 minute which was floated in towards Chris Hegarty. The big defender rose and met the ball with his head, but Hyland pulled off a fantastic point-blank save, tipping the header over the ball.