Tomorrow night, The Oval is set to host the European play-off semi-final between Glentoran and Glenavon. In a game that boasts competition and goals, both sides gear up for battle ahead of the big clash.
With both sides itching at the chance of European football, spectators should be certain to get their money’s worth, with visiting underdogs Glenavon looking to show up and ruin the day of the East Belfast side.
Glenavon ended their league campaign in 7th place and Glentoran ended theirs in 3rd, entitling them both to a place in the European play-offs. With the Irish Cup final finishing the way it did, it meant that the Lurgan Blues would only have two more fixtures between the last day of the season and having their passports stamped at the airport, Europe bound.
Speaking in length to the Glenavon website, Gary gave his thoughts ahead of the match.
“It’s obviously a difficult task. Glentoran are third in the league and have spent a lot of money – they’ve got a lot of quality throughout their squad.
“We’re obviously going to be massive underdogs going into the game, make no mistake about that, but by the same token we’ve proved this year that we can compete with all these teams and give them games, we’ve proved that. We have to have faith in our ability and believe in ourselves and take it into the game tomorrow night.
“It’s a huge game for Glentoran as well with the money they’ve spent and the finances they have. Their fans will be demanding European football and that’s a given when you’re spending that kind of money and have the calibre of player that they have.
“There’ll be a lot of pressure on them going into the game, whereas for us there’ll be no pressure, because if you ask anyone outside our club and fans, nobody will give us a chance tomorrow night. Our boys can go in and play relaxed, with no fear or expectation and enjoy it – hopefully they’ll perform to their capabilities.
“Make no mistake about it, we need to be at the top of our game. All our players need to be performing. We can’t be carrying any passengers if we’re going to get a result against Glentoran. If we can get that out of them tomorrow night and they don’t freeze on the occasion, then we have an opportunity.
“Let’s be honest about it, Glentoran will be going into it as huge favourites and we’ll be going in as massive underdogs, as I have said, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”
Should Glenavon win tomorrow night, they will see themselves with a place in the play-off final, facing the winner of Larne v Coleraine which also takes place tomorrow night.
Fans should be aware that the event is ticket only, meaning tickets must be purchased via the Glentoran website prior to arrival. Spare tickets may be sold at the ticket office, beside the entrance. All fans will enter via Parkgate Drive and Glenavon fans will make their way to the city end as usual. The game kicks off at 7:45pm.
Get yourself down to the game and get behind the lads in a final push to bring European football back to Mourneview – https://www.glentoran.com/tickets
Gary will have a full squad at his disposal, with the exception of Andy Hall and Andy Waterworth.