Gary Hamilton can’t wait to get the new season up and running with tonight’s trip to Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown (7.45pm).
However, the Glenavon boss says he is keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s opening day against the Ports, when the visitors to Mourneview Park won 4-2.
The Lurgan Blues have bolstered their ranks over the summer, with the Linfield trio of Andrew Waterworth, Mark Haughey and Mark Stafford, ex-Warrenpoint defender Danny Wallace and goalkeeper Declan Brown all joining the club.
And Hamilton has almost a full squad to pick from, with Conor McCloskey, who returned to training on Wednesday night after picking up an injury in pre-season, the only player to miss out this evening.
“Anyone who knows me knows I love being involved in matches. Even if it’s only pre-season games I love being involved,” Gary told Glenavon Media.
“We’ve done all we can as coaching staff to prepare the boys as best we can. We would have preferred more games against Championship clubs the way we usually do but it wasn’t to be.
“We let ourselves down on the first game of last season. We were beaten and deservedly so. Hopefully the boys have learned from that.
“We’re playing Portadown and tonight it’s not just a derby game but it’s the first game of the season. Teams always raise their game in the first game of the season and there’s always a shock result.
“We can’t play the same way we did last season and expect to get a result.”
Tickets for the away end at Shamrock Park have sold out, however Portadown are streaming the game. You can purchase the stream by clicking here.
Those travelling to the game are warned to expect delays due to road works taking place outside Shamrock Park, so please leave extra time for your journey.
As fans may be aware, this year, the club is excited to avail of our first ever bespoke kit offering from Nike and this will be our new home kit for the forthcoming season. We have been working hard over many months with our suppliers, Club Sport NI, to create a shirt that we believe will be a fan favourite.
Unfortunately, due to problems arising which are outside of anyone’s control, there has been a delay in the shirt’s arrival. To ensure no colour clash in our season opener with Portadown, we will be wearing navy.
This popular shirt will be familiar to many as it was worn in most of our pre-season fixtures. We look forward to unveiling the new shirt in time for our first home game of the season.
LAST TIME OUT: Glenavon thrashed Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown 4-1 at Mourneview Park to tighten their grip on seventh place and the final European play-off spot.
The Ports went ahead against the run of play on 43 minutes when Lee Bonis lashed a half-volley past Craig Hyland after a high ball had caught out Andrew Doyle.
Doyle made amends just a minute later, however, as he headed the equaliser from Peter Campbell’s corner.
Man of the Match Matthew Fitzpatrick gave Glenavon a deserved lead on the hour mark when he slammed the ball home following Danny Purkis’ knock-down.
Fitzpatrick then doubled the Lurgan Blues’ advantage in the 75th minute by curling a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The scoring was completed on 81 minutes when Ports defender Adam McCallum turned a Fitzpatrick cross into his own net.
REFEREE: Ian McNabb
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Gareth Eakin, Paul Robinson
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Neil Robinson