Cup focus on youth

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GLENAVON manager Gary Hamilton will hand youth an opportunity to impress this weekend in the club’s Mid-Ulster Cup quarter-final.

Banbridge Town arrive in Lurgan on Saturday aiming to claim a senior scalp - with Brian Adair, a former Glenavon youth player, the visitors’ manager.

Hamilton is keen to continue Glenavon’s commitment to youth progress by using the cup clash as another stepping stone for the club’s most promising prospects.

Jordan Ryan, Ryan Corrigan and Jude Ballard have each recently been impressive on duty with Northern Ireland Schoolboys, with Robbie McDaid (pictured) involved at international level with the under 17s.

“It won’t be the same team that played against Dungannon,” Hamilton said. “There will be a couple of those guys involved but we want to get a look at other guys.

“Last year, we used the competition to give the younger lads the chance.

“Again, this year we’ll use it to blood the younger players to see what they’re made of.

“We have a lot of good young guys coming through, like Ryan Corrigan and Jordan Dane, who we will have a look at.

“We also want to see Matt Rooney and there are the guys like Ciaran Doherty, Conor Hagan, Niall Henderson and myself who haven’t played a lot lately so we’ll get a run-out as well.

“Mark Turkington will also definitely feature because he hasn’t played many games.

“He has been doing well in the last couple of games so we want to keep him playing and keep his confidence and fitness up.”

Banbridge Town may sit 26 positions below Glenavon in the Irish League ladder but Hamilton is refusing to take anything for granted against the IFA Championship 2 side.

“Banbridge will give the younger players a good test,” said Hamilton. “Brian Adair has gone in there, brought in some good players and can call on a decent amount of experience in the game.

“We played his Rathfriland Rangers team in pre-season and they gave us a good game so we know that Banbridge will be up for it on Saturday.

“It will be a good test for our young guys.

“With no disrespect to reserve-team football, this will be a higher standard and a better opportunity for myself and my backroom staff to get a look at them.”

Kick-off on Saturday at Mourneview Park will be 3pm.

The winners will meet Lurgan Celtic in the semi-finals.