On Tuesday 3rd October 2023 Glenavon begins its campaign for the BetMcLean League Cup against Dergview at Mourneview Park. The tie will be played to a finish with extra-time and penalties, if required.

Two weeks ago, the Castlederg club parted company with its manager, Tommy Canning, after four successive defeats had left it struggling at the foot of the Playr-Fit Teamwear Championship table. Former Northern Ireland international Ivan Sproule has taken the job pro term. The frontiersmen responded to the change with impressive home victories against Knockbreda (5-0) and Bangor (2-1).

Five years ago, Glenavon exited the League Cup against Dergview at Mourneview Park. Matthew Callaghan scored the only goal of that match in the 35th minute.

“We will give them the respect which they deserve,” said new Blues’ boss, Stephen McDonnell. “But I will concentrate on us and how we play. The messages which we have already given the players have been very clear. We will build on that again this week.”

Stephen was encouraged by what he saw during the first half against Larne on Saturday night. “I thought that we were the more progressive team up until the sending off. Rory Brown made two decent saves, but I don’t think they had a shot apart from those. At the other end we forced their keeper to make one excellent save and Andy Mooney had two chances with headers which on another day might have gone in.”

“Our ball retention was good,” the new manager continued. “We kept it for 15-20 passes a few times and, most importantly, there was end product in terms of chances created or shots on goal. The players tried hard to implement the approach we talked through on Thursday night. It is unfortunate that we lost Robbie [Garrett] when we did. It would have been interesting to have seen how the game would have developed in the second half if it had still been eleven v eleven.”

Stephen reports that Calum Birney may be out of action for an extended period with what is thought to be a reoccurrence of his Achilles injury. Mathew Snoddy has a dead leg but played through the pain barrier on Saturday. It remains to be seen if he will be available. Niall Quinn was ill at the weekend. Again, he remains doubtful. Robbie Garrett is, of course, suspended, but Jamie McDonagh has completed his recent three-match ban.

Thanks to our match day sponsors:
Match: Bluebell Cottage: Holywood and Moira
Ball: PIPS Hope & Support Mental Health Care Charity
MoM: Kris Lindsay