Tough trip ahead at Solitude

Daniel Kearns - expected to start against Cliftonville.
Daniel Kearns - expected to start against Cliftonville.

Gary Hamilton is confident his team will not repeat their opening day poor performance when they take on Cliftonville for the second time this season on Saturday at Solitude.

In August the Reds eased to the points at Mourneview Park, a match in which the Glenavon manager said the Cliftonville made his team look like ‘boys’.

“We were very poor that day,” recalls Hamilton. “I don’t think we will repeat that performance.

“I think we have improved since then and we can hopefully provide a sterner test for them.

“It will still be a very difficult place to go and get a result. They are well in the race for the title and have gone unbeaten since Gerard Lyttle took over. Sometimes that happens when a new man takes charge and is has certainly worked at Cliftonville.

“If we show the same fight, determination and character as we did last week then all we will need is a bit of luck.

“We didn’t get anything to fall for us at Crusaders but we didn’t help ourselves either because I felt we did not get men into the box at crucial times. That is something we have to work on. We need to have bodies in the box for that loose or breaking ball. We tended to sit outside the 18 yard area so when the good testing deliveries came in we had no-one to make them count.”

Conor Dillon was ruled out last week after taking a knock in training but should be fit. Kris Lindsay, Joel Cooper and Daniel Kearns are also likely to start. The odds are against the Lurgan Blues, but Hamilton will expect his team to work hard and take any chances that might come their way.