Hamilton bids to end poor record against Linfield

Gary Hamilton is targeting the end to another unwanted record at Glenavon.

After the Blues defeated local rivals Portadown in a Boxing Day derby for the first time in 17 years, Hamilton is now aiming for his first win over Linfield as Glenavon boss when his side travel to Windsor Park on New Year’s Day (kick-off 3pm).

Linfield have won six of the last seven meetings between the sides, Glenavon’s last victory coming on penalties back in October 2011. Despite that poor recent record, Hamilton’s targeting three points on Saturday.

He said: “We’d obviously take a point but we’ll go there to try and get all three.

“We haven’t beaten Linfield since I came to the club so it would be nice to break that trend as well and get a win.

“To do that, we need to perform. There’s no reason why we can’t but it’ll still be a difficult task. The finances at Linfield compared to ours make it hard to compete. It’s like Man City playing Stoke.

“However, if we go and give a good account of ourselves and put in a lot of fight, we might get them on an off-day and we’re more than capable of getting a result.

“I thought the last time we went to Windsor we gave a very good account of ourselves. We didn’t come away with what we deserved. That’s been the case a few times we’ve played them lately.”

Linfield are currently six points clear of Crusaders at the top of the league table thanks to their current impressive run that has seen them win 15 of their last 18 league games. That came after they had failed to win any of their opening four fixtures.

They’ve now added Robbie Garrett and former NI international Ivan Sproule to their squad and that pair will be available for the New Year’s Day game as the January transfer window opens. Hamilton reckons those additions will strengthen Linfield’s grip on first place.

“I said when we played them a while back that I felt they’d win the league this year and at the minute they’re sitting top. They’ve also strengthened their squad. When you’re bringing in players of the quality they have brought in, you can only get better.”

Hamilton is keen to keep an unchanged line-up from the Boxing Day victory, although says he will have to “make sure everybody’s 100%” after picking up a few knocks during the win over Portadown.

Glenavon will then travel to Rotterdam to take on Leonidas, a semi-professional team that have invited the squad over for an expenses-paid friendly on Saturday 4th January.

They’ll not be able to relax for long, however, as they return home to take on champions Cliftonville at Mourneview Park on Tuesday 7th (kick-off 7.45pm).

The last time the sides met in the league at Mourneview on September 21 an Andy McGrory goal gave Glenavon a 1-0 win.