Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton wants to send champions Cliftonville packing with no points on Saturday.
The Reds look to be hitting some form after their 4-1 thrashing of Glentoran last Saturday. However, Hamilton wants to bring them back to down to earth by turning them over at Mourneview Park as he welcomes a former player back in Ciaran Doherty.
Hamilton said: “Ciaran is a top player. We know his qualities and the type of player he can be. It’ll be great to see him back at Mourneview again but hopefully he won’t be going away with any points.”
The game marks the start of a daunting run of four games for the Blues, who currently sit just one point behind leaders Cliftonville and alongside Portadown. Hamilton is, at the very least, hoping for an improvement in last year’s fixtures, although that shouldn’t be too much to ask as all four of these ended in defeats last season.
“Over the next four weeks we play four of the top teams,” said Hamilton. “That will be a real test for us and we’ll see how far we’ve come.
“We’re doing well and being just one point off the leaders after seven games is an achievement in itself. We’ll not be there come the end of the season but the boys want to push on and do as much as they can.
“In the corresponding fixtures last season, Cliftonville beat us twice at Mourneview, Crusaders beat us twice at Seaview, Linfield beat us twice at their place and Portadown beat us twice at Shamrock.
“That’s our next four games so anything from those matches will be an improvement on last year. Of course we want more than one point but that would still be better than last year.”
In order to start out that run with any points, Glenavon will certainly have to tame the Reds’ front two of Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley. Despite Gormley already netting nine league goals in seven games, Hamilton says it’s his partner that will require extra attention.
“Liam Boyce is the key man. Joe Gormley scores goals and is a top finisher but Liam Boyce is the man. Every team has a key player and he is theirs. He assists goals as well as scores them. How he plays on Saturday and how we play against him is probably going to be the key influence on the game.”