GARY Hamilton says Glenavon’s fans could provide the key to victory in Tuesday’s Irn-Bru League Cup semi-final against Cliftonville (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Blues are preparing to line-up in the club’s first League Cup semi-final in over a decade and the boss says the fans can help them seal their place in the final for the first time since Glentoran beat them 1-0 in 2001.
The game, which fans should note is not all-ticket, sees Glenavon travel to take on table-toppers Cliftonville who are on an eight match unbeaten run.
It’s certainly a tough task for Hamilton’s men but the boyhood Glenavon supporter says his side have what it takes to win, if they have the fans’ backing.
“The fans who have come away from home recently have been excellent and we need that going to Solitude. Hopefully we’ll get it from them,” he told the ‘MAIL.’
“I would like to think the fans travelling to Solitude on Tuesday will be that extra man for us.
“For those that travelled to Coleraine on Saturday, you could hear them singing. They might not think it, but it means a lot to the players and encourages them, no matter how loud it is.
“I heard them talking after the game about how much they appreciate it. They really notice the fans encouraging them rather than getting on their backs.
“I remember back in the days when I was going to watch Glenavon and when the club got into a semi-final there was always a big crowd.
“For the club to have been struggling the way they have been for 10 years, we still have a good crowd watching every week. It’s encouraging and hopefully we’ll get five hundred or more going to Solitude.
“Hopefully the guys who play local football on Saturday afternoons can come up and support their local team on Tuesday night as well.”
The boss knows his side have a huge task ahead of them but the same was said last week as they travelled to Coleraine, who had been unbeaten in six before they came up against Glenavon. Consequently, the player/manager was confident in his side’s ability to cause a shock and reach the club’s first senior cup final of the millennium.
“It would be great for us to get to the final of the cup and I’ve every confidence that if we play to our capabilities, we can do that,” he said.
“It would be massive for the fans and it will take a big performance because Cliftonville are a good team and they’ve been playing some nice stuff. However, our boys are more than capable of giving that big performance.
“If we get a strong team out and get everyone playing then we are capable of beating any team in this league. I’ve said that time and time again and I believe it. I had confidence that we’d beat Coleraine despite the fact that they had only been beaten once at home in the league this season before that.
“There has been no talk of the semi-final from anyone in the dressing room yet though. We’re taking it one game at a time and none of the guys are looking too far ahead.
“Leading into Saturday’s league game, players may have it in their minds that they’re playing for a place in the semi-final team.”