Centre-forward Matthew Fitzpatrick, the Danske Bank Premiership’s second highest goalscorer with 18 goals, is very happy at Glenavon. Speaking after the midweek 3-2 victory against Ballymena United, he said that he is “absolutely loving” life at Mourneview Park. The Belfast man’s comment will please Lurgan fans on a weekend when there has been further press speculation about his future.
“I am pleased with the way things have gone for me personally and the team this season,” he said. “I didn’t start off with a personal goals target. I just wanted to score as many as I could and help the club to do well.”
On Tuesday night, against Ballymena United, he had a chance to complete his first hat-trick at senior level when Glenavon was awarded a 73rd minute penalty-kick. The popular number nine had already scored twice. “I was dying to take it, but at that stage we were only 2-1 ahead,” he continued. “Gary would have been mad with me if I had missed. So, I didn’t lift the ball. As it turned out, Jack Malone did a great job. I couldn’t have hit it any better.”
Fitzpatrick has taken penalty-kicks when playing Gaelic football. “I have taken one or two,” he added. “I have scored a couple and missed a couple. I won’t say more than that.”
Matthew, who is a late convert from Gaelic football, has adapted extraordinarily well. Quite apart from his finishing he is a strong leader of the line and has developed a silky touch. “That’s something I have had to focus on,” he said. “Three or four years ago my touch wasn’t what it is now. But I have worked at it and it is getting better.”
The 28-year-old, who signed a four-year contract this time last year, says that he owes a lot to his team-mates. “Playing with talented players makes your game better,” he added. “There is no doubt about that. The lads here are great.”