Catch-up time

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton - seeking good cup run.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton - seeking good cup run.

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton is going to have to utilise his full squad over the coming weeks as the Blues look to catch up on their postponed fixtures.

They have two fixtures at Warrenpoint, the first now set for Tuesday 8th February with free admission, and one against Linfield at Windsor Park, fitting them in around Irish Cup, Mid-Ulster Cup and scheduled league games.

They host Ards on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) as they bid to chase down sixth-placed Ballymena, who visit Portadown. Hamilton knows his side must pick up a win if his side’s bid to beat the Braidmen to the top half is to continue.

He said: “We need to beat the teams below us. We started that against Ballinamallard and we need to carry that sort of performance into the Ards game.

“If we could win these games, it’s a big step in the right direction.”

Ards are eight points adrift at the foot of the table but they are fresh off the back of a fine 3-3 draw at Windsor Park.

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Hamilton said: “Ards showed against Linfield on Friday that this won’t be easy. It was a great result. The team at the bottom of the league shouldn’t be going to the league leaders and getting a point, especially having been 3-1 behind.

“Some people think it’s a foregone conclusion when you come to games like this. Maybe that’s what cost Linfield on. It can happen if you take your eye off the ball.

“We have to make sure we put in the same work before the game and turn up with the same drive, fight and passion. If we do that, our quality should see us through.”

After that, it’ll be a hectic couple of months for the Blues, who still have nine league games to play before the split at the end of March

He said: “It’s going to be difficult with the Irish Cup replay dates and the Mid-Ulster Cup games. We don’t want to be playing one team twice within a week or two either. Linfield have a busy schedule as well so I’m not sure when the rearranged games are going to be.

“That’s all out of hands at the minute, especially because they’re away games. It’s not as if it’s our pitch that’s unavailable. We’ll just have to see for now.

“It will take its toll on our squad over the next while, there’s no doubt about that but we will just have to get on with it. There’s nothing can be done unless there’s a week extension before the split like there was last season.”