On Friday 24th November 2023 Glenavon travels to South Down to face Newry City in its next Sports Direct Premiership fixture. Since defeating Ballymena United 2-0 at the Warden Street Showgrounds in early October, the frontiersmen have lost six consecutive league fixtures – versus Coleraine (0-2), Loughgall (1-3), Larne (1-2), Linfield (0-3), Cliftonville (0-1) and Dungannon Swifts (1-4). Newry is managed by Gary Boyle, previously assistant to the long-serving Darren Mullen.

Despite City’s recent poor form, Glenavon boss Stephen McDonnell is expecting a tough 90 minutes. “They are bottom of the league and struggling,” he said. “They will try to tighten up at the back and become much more difficult to beat. I would expect a positive reaction from them.” McDonnell also anticipates an energy-sapping pitch. “A lot of rain has fallen in the Newry area over the last month. The playing surface will be soft. It will be a physically demanding game.”

The Blues’ boss has been delighted with his team’s positive form during November 2023. He felt that the players were exceptional in last Saturday’s 2-0 victory against Loughgall. “I thought that we were superb, both in and out of possession,” he enthused. “A lot of our good play came from our honesty and work rate without the ball. We want the players to excite the fans with the brand of football they produce. I think that happened. There was a great atmosphere in the stadium. It was a glimpse of what, going forward, we want to create.”

McDonnell reckons that his players are beginning to play with confidence. “Two months ago, when we arrived, things were at a low ebb,” he continued. “There was no energy in the dressing room. It was a difficult situation. But now there Is noise. Everyone is feeling positive. The players are playing with freedom. Winning games has completely transformed the dynamic. Long may it continue.”

The Dundalk man paid tribute to assistant manager Simon Kelly, coach Mark Rimmington and the club’s other coaches for their contribution since the end of September. “Simon and Mark have played a huge role in the improvement in the team’s results,” he added. “They have strengths in some areas that I don’t have. They have allowed me to be the best version of myself. But that is also true of the club’s other staff. Everyone has worked extremely well as a team.”

Stephen has more good news on the injury front. Jamie McDonagh, who collapsed after being substituted against Dergview in October, has been given the green light to return to training. Calum Birney is also on the way back. Andy Mooney is available for selection against Newry. “Things are definitely looking up,” added the Dundalk man. “We don’t have a big squad, so we need as many players fit and able to play as possible.”

Glenavon v Newry City, Last Season
Date Result
30/08/22 Glenavon 1 Newry City 5
25/02/23 Glenavon 0 Newry City 2
04/03//23 Newry City 0 Glenavon 1
15/04/23 Newry City 0 Glenavon 1

Other Glenavon teams in action this weekend:

  • Monday 27th November 2023 – Loughgall Reserves v Glenavon Reserves, Lakeview Park, Loughgall, 1945 k.o.
  • Saturday 25th November 2023 – Glenavon U-16s v Newry City U-16s, Gordon Playing Fields, 1100 k.o.
  • Saturday 25th November 2023 – Greenisland U-15s v Glenavon U-15s, Greenisland 3G, 1100 k.o.
  • Saturday 25th November 2023 – Glenavon U-14s v Larne U-14s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 1115 k.o.
  • Saturday 25th November 2023 – Greenisland U-13s v Glenavon U-13s, Allen Park 3G Pitch 1, 1115 k.o.