Nothing but a win will do for Glenavon this Saturday if they are to make the top six – something which will be a big ask with league leaders Linfield coming to town.
The Lurgan Blues will also need a favour from bottom club Dungannon Swifts, who take on sixth placed Crusaders.
Gary Hamilton concedes that Glenavon’s chances of making the top half before the league splits is unlikely.
He told Glenavon Media: “Crusaders are in the driving seat. They’ve got Dungannon on Saturday which I expect them to win.
“If Crusaders don’t finish in the top six it’s seen as a failure for them. They’re basically paying full-time wages so they should be in the top six. They should probably be in the top four.
“Saturday is a free one for us. We’re playing a team that’s top of the league and we haven’t beaten them this year. The boys can go out, give it their all, enjoy it and see what happens.
“Anything could happen on Saturday but all we can do is make sure that we take care of our own business. There’s no point in even keeping an eye on the other result because unless we win it doesn’t matter. A draw isn’t good enough for us.”
They welcome a Linfield team who have won four of the last five encounters between the two teams, although the previous two games between the two sides have been close-run encounters.
Robbie Garrett returns from injury after picking up a knock in the recent win over Ballymena United, otherwise there are no other changes to the squad which took beat Warrenpoint on Tuesday night.
REFEREE: Ian McNabb
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Paul Robinson, Gavin Hegarty
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Tim Marshall
MATCH SPONSOR: Gospel Goal
BALL SPONSOR: Damian Hardwick and Stanley Kydd
MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR: Kevin Savage
LAST TIME OUT: Glenavon lost 2-1 to Linfield at Mourneview Park in their first league game of 2021 on Saturday afternoon.
The Lurgan Blues went in front midway through the first half when Danny Purkis headed home following a Sammy Clingan corner.
Linfield responded three minutes into the second half when Niall Quinn glanced in a header from a Kirk Millar free-kick.
Glenavon proceeded to squander a number of great opportunities to get their noses in front again as the second half wore on before being hit by a stunning counterpunch of a goal from Jordan Stewart, who spectacularly volleyed home on 79 minutes to grab all three points for the reigning Danske Bank Premiership champions.