Glenavon travels to North Belfast on Saturday to face Sports Direct Premiership title challengers, Crusaders. Once again Reserves’ manager Gary McAlister, coach Chris Chambers and Mark Haughey will take charge.

“It will be a very tough match, particularly after the Crues lost heavily to Cliftonville earlier in the week,” said Gary, speaking on Thursday night. “They will be hurting and will probably be doubly determined to bounce back against us.

Gary, Chris and Mark monitored the North Belfast derbyclosely. “It gave us a few ideas about ways in which we might stop them at one end and put them under pressure at the other. So, we have a plan. Hopefully, it works.”

Gary feels that he, Chris and Mark have worked well together. “It has been brilliant,” he said. “Chris and I have known each other a long time. He is an outstanding coach. He has put on some excellenttraining sessions. I know that the lads have enjoyed working with him. Mark has a wealth of experience. He understands the game. His input has been invaluable. The three of us have leant on each other and that’s how things will continue so long as the club needs us.”

The management team pro term was encouraged by last weekend’s 2-1 victory against Carrick Rangers. “The lads showed plenty of fight,” added Gary. “It can be hard to play against ten men, particularly at home. Supporters expect a win. That brings pressure. But everyone worked hard and stood up. Our first goal was brilliant. They equalised with a wonder strike. Then, the question was, could we push through and get a second? The fact that we did that and then held on for the three points says a lot about the positive attitude in the changing room.”

McAlister feels that if Glenavon is to come away with anything on Saturday, it will need to make a positive start. “Top teams like Crusaders are capable of putting opponents under the cosh from the first minute,” he continued. “It is vital that we concentrate fully and don’t encourage them by giving up easy scoring opportunities. We want to put a marker down early and show them that we mean business.

Finally, Gary revealed that Sean Ward is unavailable; Calum Birney (Achilles tendon) is extremely doubtful; and Conor McCloskey (hamstring) is out. Jamie McDonagh is suspended.


Glenavon v Crusaders, Last Season




Crusaders 3 Glenavon 2


Glenavon 4 Crusaders 2


Glenavon 2 Crusaders 2

Other Glenavon teams in action this weekend:

(Free Admission to all games)

  • Monday 25th September 2023 Carrick Rangers Reserves v Glenavon Reserves, Loughview Leisure Arena, 1945 k.o.
  • Friday 22nd September 2023 – Glenavon U-18s v Loughgall U-18s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 2000 k.o.
  • Friday 22nd September 2023 – Loughgall U-16s v Glenavon U-16s, Lakeview Park, 2000 k.o.
  • Saturday 23rd September 2023 – Glenavon U-15s v Dungannon Swifts U-15s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 1100 k.o.
  • Saturday 23rd September 2023 Larne U-14s vGlenavon U-14s, Larne Academy of Sport, 0930 k.o.
  • Saturday 23rd September 2023 – Glenavon U-13s v Cliftonville U-13s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 0930 k.o.