It’s the game every Glenavon fan looks forward to. A clash highly anticipated and rich in history, it’s the Mid-Ulster derby.
Both teams, eager to claim bragging rights, will fight for the right to claim Mid-Ulster as their own. A thrilling showdown between two bitter rivals awaits, in a match which promises to be a fiery encounter.
Although Portadown have made their bed at the bottom of the league, Gary Hamilton doesn’t plan on getting complacent going into the game.
“It’s a derby match so it doesn’t matter where they are in the league or where we are in the league,” said the Glenavon manager.
“When I first took over Glenavon, we were down at the bottom of the league all the time and Portadown were up in the top three, and we got results against them.
“Portadown might be down at the bottom, but they went away to Ballymena and managed to get a point.
“There are no easy games this league and people have to realise that. There’s no such thing as going out and it’s a walk in the park and you get a result. It doesn’t happen.
“People talk about teams at the bottom of the league but Portadown are our rivals so no matter when they play us they are going to be up for it – as should we be up for it against them.
“That’s the way football should be, you’ll see it in England and you’ll see it in Scotland in derby matches. It doesn’t matter what your league position is at that minute in time, it counts for nothing.
“It’s whoever turns up on the day and who shows up and who wants it more, who plays the occasion better and handles the pressure.”
Fans can purchase their tickets ahead of the game on Portadown website to avoid disappointment at the gate. Alternatively, there will be a cash gate in operation, with no guarantee of entry closer to kick-off. Any child in Year 10 or younger is free in with a paying adult. Up to 3 kids with 1 adult.
A bucket collection will also take place for the chosen derby charity Aspire. Fans are asked to be generous with their donations!
Conor McCloskey remains unavailable for selection with Peter Campbell also being in doubt.
Jack Malone and Andrew Doyle return to action in time for the Mid-Ulster clash.
LAST TIME OUT
It was Boxing Day derby delight for Glenavon at Mourneview Park on Monday afternoon thanks to Matthew Fitzpatrick, whose brace secured the Lurgan Blues a 2-1 victory over fierce rivals Portadown and the Mid Ulster bragging rights to go with it.
The Lurgan Blues somehow failed to score in a first half which they dominated, but Fitzpatrick broke the deadlock five minutes after the break when he drilled home after he had been teed up by strike partner Eoin Bradley.
Bottom side Portadown managed to haul themselves level on 68 minutes when Barney McKeown bundled the ball into the net following a Reece Jordan corner.
The home side responded eight minutes later, however, and it was that man Fitzpatrick who struck again, after good work from Peter Campbell on the left flank, to restore the lead and ultimately secure the three points.
Referee: Tim Marshall
Assistant Referees: Ryan Kelsey, Andrew Nethery
Fourth official: Christopher Morrison