Glenavon travels to Belfast on Saturday 24th February 2024 to face Crusaders. The Seaview men made a good start to the season with some positive results in both the UEFA Conference League and the Sports Direct Premiership. However, an inability to defeat the three top clubs – Larne, Linfield and Cliftonville – has prevented them from mounting a sustained challenge for the league title. A surprise fifth round defeat against Ards ended their bid to win the Irish Cup for a third successive season. Long-serving manager, Stephen Baxter, has announced that he will step down in May.

Stephen McDonnell expects a tough game at the compact North Belfast venue. “Crusaders are one of the top sides in the league,” he said. “They have lots of talent and experience in their squad. Apart from when they have played the top three, they have been very consistent. We will have to be at our very best if we are to win the match.”

Last time out Glenavon lost 4-2 against Cliftonville, but played some excellent football, particularly in the first half. “We were very encouraged with that display,” he continued. “The big disappointment was our failure to score enough goals when we were on top. That is the next target to aim for. When we have opponents on the back foot, as we did at Solitude, we need to press home the advantage. We could easily have started the second half three goals in front.”

Stephen is also hoping for an improved defensive display. “We conceded too many goals in the recent matches against Larne and Cliftonville,” he said. “We cannot afford to make so many mistakes against top sides.

When Glenavon and Crusaders met at Mourneview Park in early December 2023, the visitors emerged 3-1 winners. “I don’t think there was much between the teams,” added Stephen. “On the day they had a bit more quality than us in the final third of the pitch and that was the difference. We could quite easily have drawn that match.”

The clubs’ previous contest, in September 2023, saw the Crues take all three points with a 2-0 victory.

Although Glenavon has no suspensions at present, a number of players are unlikely to feature at Seaview. Mark Haughey may not be risked. “We are being ultra cautious with Mark,” said Stephen. “He has had a slightadverse reaction. If he doesn’t play against Crusaders, he should be available for the next game.”

Darren Clarke has both a dead leg and a calf complaint. Lido Lotefa is still recovering from a groin strain. Calum Birney is making good progress but may not be ready in time. Conor McCloskey has had a full week’s training but is unlikely to feature.

Glenavon v Crusaders, Last Season




Crusaders 3 Glenavon 2


Glenavon 4 Crusaders 2


Glenavon 2 Crusaders 2

Other  Glenavon teams in action this week:

(Free Admission to all games)

  • Monday 26th February 2024 Cliftonville Olympic v Glenavon Reserves, Solitude, 2000 k.o.
  • Wednesday 28th February 2024Glenavon U-18s v Portadown U-18s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 2015k.o.
  • Saturday 24th February 2024Glenavon U-16s v Ballymena United U-16s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 1115 k.o.
  • Friday 23rd February 2024Glenavon U-15s v Larne U-15s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 1900 k.o.
  • Saturday 24th February 2024 Coleraine U-14s vGlenavon U-14s, Rugby Avenue 3G, 1030 k.o.