Glenavon boss Gary hamilton has heaped praise on rivals Portadown ahead of this weekend’s Mid-Ulster derby.
The Lurgan Blues came out on top in the first meeting between the sides back in October as Kevin Braniff’s second half strike was enough to give Hamilton’s men the points at Mourneview.
Then the two sides faced off in the traditional Boxing Day clash at Shamrock Park as Glenavon fought back with two late goals to seemingly snatch a share of the spoils.
But that was only half the story as the home side were awarded a 3-0 win following the David Elebert suspension row - a decision which Glenavon have subsequently appealed.
Hamilton is expecting another close encounter at Shamrock Park this weekend against the side he rates as the best in the bottom half.
“They are a better side than their position implies, that is for sure,” he said.
“They have a squad full of quality, I would say it’s probably the best squad of the teams in the bottom half of the table.
“Niall (Currie) has been working hard in January to strengthen that further, adding more players to his panel.
“So we know exactly what we will have to do and how we will have to perform come Saturday.
“But to be honest it’s no different than every other Saturday as you have to play well to get the result in this league. I have been pleased with the way we have been playing, and it all stems from the comeback on Boxing Day.”
The Glenavon fans enjoyed the comeback that day - even if it could yet turn out fruitless in terms of points.
“You look forward to derby games, but really it’s all about the fans,” said Hamilton.
“Of course players need no motivation for games like this, but it’s just another three points up for grabs, and we will be approaching it in the same way we do every game and we will be determined to get the win.”
The Glenavon supporters’ buses will be leaving Mourneview for Shamrock Park on Saturday at 2pm.