Big performance needed to clinch double over Crues

Joel Cooper should be back in squad for Crusaders game.
Joel Cooper should be back in squad for Crusaders game.

If Glenavon can repeat their recent cup win over Crusaders this Saturday at Mourneview Park then a place in Europe via the league is back on.

The Lurgan Blues suffered a blow last week with rivals Cliftonville edging into third place, but that can all change with a positive weekend.

However, the fact Crusaders put one hand on the league title last week by beating Linfield is something manager Gary Hamilton sees as a huge factor in the game.

“I would have much preferred they didn’t beat Linfield because it would have kept the pressure on them, but they will come here relaxed knowing they are almost there,” says Hamilton.

“We have the cup final to come, but I have said all along I want to try and clinch our place in Europe before May 7. That is going to be difficult now, especially as Cliftonville look like they are in the driving seat. But we have to hope maybe they drop points and if they do then we have to win our games to get ahead of them again. It has been a long, hard season and the players have managed to get the club into this challenging position but over the last two games we have not been at our best. We can’t start thinking about the cup final yet, we still have plenty to play for and if we can bounce back on Saturday it can change everything.”

Injury problems are mounting for the manager, David Elebert is out after tearing a hamstring at Solitude and Mark Sykes could be out for another two weeks with a groin injury.

Hopefully, Joel Cooper will have recovered from his chest infection which ruled him out of the Cliftonville game and Ian Morris is expected to get another outing after his impressive display at Solitude.

n Tickets for the Irish Cup final will go on sale on Thursday via ticketmaster. They are priced at £15 adult and £8 concession.

Glenavon have been allocated the South Stand.

n The William Walker Club are running two buses to the final. Non-members can book a seat by calling 07887 487502.