On Saturday 20th April 2024 Glenavon travels to Stangmore Park to face Dungannon Swifts in its penultimate league fixture of the 2023-24 season. Dungannon has been in fine form of late with three wins out of three so far in the post-split phase of the Sports Direct Irish Premiership. Those victories came against Carrick Rangers (3-2), Newry City (2-0) and Loughgall (2-0). Six more points would give Rodney McAree’s side a chance of securing seventh place.

“Dungannon will be tough opponents,” said Stephen McDonnell. “They play good football and are in excellent form. Confidence will be high in their dressing room. We will need to be at our best if we are to take anything.”

McDonnell, speaking on Thursday evening, was still processing the 1-0 defeat at the Ballymena Showgrounds a few days earlier. “On chances created we should have won by a big scoreline,” he said. “We limited them to two opportunities and created seven or eight ourselves. It was very disappointing because the team played well except, of course, when it came to putting the ball into the net.”

Stephen accepts that the lack of a prolific goalscorer has been Glenavon’s Achilles’ heel all season. “We have not replaced Matthew Fitzpatrick,” he said. “It has been the elephant in the room since before I was appointed.”

McDonnell concedes that neither Lido Lotefa nor Gavin Hodgins have solved the problem. “It has been difficult for both lads because they did not have a pre-season, but I accept that they have not contributed as much as we hoped they would. There have been games in which they have shown glimpses, but they have not sustained it.”

“Aaron Prendergast, Lido and Gavin have scored ten league goals between them,” he continued. “That is a very low total. It is a situation which we must do our best to address.”

Whilst Stephen points out that the market is extremely difficult, he is determined, with the support of the Board of Directors, to recruit a centre forward capable of scoring at least 10-12 league goals. “We have been working on this for a while and will continue to make it our number one priority. But it is not easy. Except for Loughgall, and perhaps Carrick Rangers, all the bottom six clubs need a goalscorer.”

Returning to the Dungannon match, Glenavon will be without the suspended Jack Malone, goalkeeper Gareth Deane and central defender Mark Haughey. “We are disappointed to lose Jack for the last two matches of this season and the first game of next season,” added McDonnell. “Gareth has an elbow problem and may be out for the last two fixtures and we don’t want to risk Mark on the pitch at Stangmore Park. Hopefully, he will be available for the Carrick Rangers match.” Isaac Baird, Calum Birney, and Aaron Prendergast are, of course, also on the injured list.

On its last visit to County Tyrone in September 2023, Glenavon lost 1-0. However, it took six points out of six from the two home league fixtures against Dungannon.

Glenavon v Dungannon Swifts, Last Season
Date Result
08/10/22 Glenavon 5 Dungannon Swifts 0
26/11/22 Dungannon Swifts 1 Glenavon 0
21/01/23 Dungannon Swifts 2 Glenavon 1
07/04/23 Glenavon 1 Dungannon Swifts 1

Other Glenavon teams in action this weekend:

(Free Admission to all games)

  • Friday 19th April 2024 – Linfield U-18s v Glenavon U-18s, Midgley Park, Belfast, 2000 k.o.
  • Saturday 20th April 2024 – Glenavon U-15s v Rosario Y.C. U-15s, Lurgan Junior High School 3G, 0930 k.o.