GLENAVON boss Gary Hamilton has called on the club’s supporters to be their ‘12th man’ and help them to secure their Carling Premiership survival this weekend.
The Blues host Dungannon Swifts at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm) knowing that they could need three points to avoid the promotion/relegation play-off.
That depends on how Distillery do against Ballymena United. If the Whites can pick up victory at home to the Braidmen, Glenavon must win their game to avoid the play-off but if Distillery fail to win, the Blues will stay up regardless of their result.
Hamilton says he wants the club’s supporters to come out in force to help them achieve their survival without having to rely on Ballymena this weekend.
He said: “The supporters have been great lately, even as we haven’t been getting the results that they deserve. We’d like to have them there in as big a number as possible on Saturday to back us for the full 90 minutes.
“Even if we do go behind, hopefully they will stay behind us because we need as much encouragement and support as possible. It’s a big game for us but it’s a big game for Dungannon too and we need our supporters to be our 12th man.”
On the pitch, Hamilton isn’t anticipating an easy game and knows his side must perform to their ability if they are to pick up the vital three points.
“It’s a cup final for us,” he told the ‘MAIL.’
“We need big performances from big players and we need to have that effort, work-rate and commitment I always talk about. If we get that, I’m confident that we’ll get a result but if we don’t, Dungannon are well capable of beating us. They’ve a few good players and anybody can beat anybody in this league.
“We’ll work hard in training this week, do what we’re doing and go for the win as we have done in the last few games. The bottom six teams are there for a reason and we’re capable of beating any of those teams if we play well but it’s the same for the other teams as well.
“We need to approach the game with a positive frame of mind and hopefully we can do that and get the result we need. When we play like we have in recent weeks, we’re a force to be reckoned with going forward. We have to be a lot tighter and stop giving away silly goals though. If we do that, we can get a result.”
However, the gaffer says it looks as though his side will again be without influential defender Mark Haughey, who missed last Saturday’s draw with Ballymena after pulling up with a groin strain during the warm-up:
“There’s only a slim chance of Mark starting on Saturday. We hope and pray that we get a bit of luck and he makes it but at the minute I’m picking my team without him because I don’t think he will.
“Mark’s a big player for us. I see him as a big defender for Glenavon for years to come and a future Glenavon captain eventually, if he stays.
“He made a big difference to us against Donegal Celtic. Perhaps if he had been playing against Ballymena, we wouldn’t have conceded the equaliser. He had been designated to mark Jonny Taylor, who scored, before he pulled up in the warm-up.”