ANDY Coleman (pictured left) is facing a race against the clock to solve Glenavon’s goalkeeper crisis going into Saturday’s Danske Bank Premiership game at home to Lisburn Distillery.
Knee ligament problems have kept the number one out of action since February but Davy O’Hare’s weekend suspension has forced Glenavon to turn back to the shot-stopper for senior experience.
A red card in the closing stages of Glenavon’s weekend Mid-Ulster Cup exit by Banbridge Town proved just one disappointment on the day but a dismissal which will now disrupt plans for the team’s return to league duty this weekend.
As it stands, Danny Devine - from the under 18s - remains the only eligible goalkeeper fully-fit ahead of the Mourneview Park match.
Coleman used Twitter, the social networking site, to announce to his followers that he “will be playing next week”. However, Gary Hamilton - the Glenavon player/manager - is wary of risking Coleman.
“We’ll have to decide if Andy’s going to be fit,” said Hamilton. “Andy was probably a week or two away yet but we have Danny (Devine) waiting in the background too.
“It was a big blow for us, Davy’s been doing really well.
“It’ll be touch-and-go if Andy’s available but we’ll see what the situation is.”
A win for Glenavon this weekend would - barring a 36-goal swing in Donegal Celtic’s favour - secure the club’s top-flight status and Hamilton is preparing his players for a battle against relegation-threatened Distillery.
“We want to carry on the last couple of league results and we’ve got four points out of the last two difficult games so want to continue that good run,” he said. “If we can get a win, it’s mathematically impossible that we go down and that’s what our aim is.
“It won’t be easy because they’re fighting to get off bottom place and into the play-off spot so they’ll be all guns blazing.
“We need to match that side of it and, hopefully, the quality that we’ve shown in the past couple of games will show through and we’ll win the game.”
The midweek test on Tuesday will serve up a Mid-Ulster derby date with Portadown at Mourneview Park.
Victory at the expense of Distillery may result in Hamilton adding to the youth players’ experience levels when Portadown come to town. However, he remains keen on a strong finish to the season.
“We told the players that Saturday against Banbridge Town was their opportunity but we’ll assess that again,” said the Glenavon boss. “It’s one step up to face Banbridge but it’s another step up to Portadown.
“We’ll have to assess things as to how many we blood at one time.
“There will be players who get a chance, I’ve said that from day one, but maybe not as many in one game as there were on Saturday.
“It’s a derby game and Portadown are off the back of their Irish Cup semi-final defeat so they’ll be looking to get a bit of pride back in the derby.
“But we will be going out to win the game too.
“We want to put a good run together from now to the end of the season and try and go unbeaten.”
Kick-off on Saturday against Lisburn Distillery will be 3 o’clock, with Tuesday’s derby - also at home - to start at 7.45.