GARY Hamilton has called on young striker Andrew Mitchell to up his work-rate in order to nail down a first team place.
Mitchell, who turned 18 yesterday (Wednesday), scored twice in Glenavon’s 4-0 Mid-Ulster Cup semi-final victory over Dungannon Swifts last week before coming on as a substitute during Saturday’s 3-1 Carling Premiership defeat to Coleraine.
The boss says that there’s a chance the youngster can come into the side between now and the end of the season.
“Andy put in a good display (against Dungannon), had two chances and scored two goals so that’s why he got his chance in the team on Saturday,” Hamilton told the ‘MAIL.’
“Andy’s quick, he’s tall at 6’1, he scores goals and holds the ball up well. He got his chance on Saturday and if he keeps playing well and scoring for the reserves then there’s no reason why he can’t get a first-team place.
“He just needs to work on his fitness and his work-rate. He does the rest of the game very well but if he can work on that then I’ve no doubt that Andy can be a big player for Glenavon in the future.”
Hamilton was pleased with the performance of his young side, most of whom are still reserve team players, after the win over Dungannon.
“Apart from Andy Coleman, Chris Lavery and Mark Miskimmin, I don’t think any of the other guys had played a first-team game for the club so it was fantastic to see them doing so well. I know Andy Coleman had to make a few good saves early on but the young guys all impressed and put in good performances,” he said.
Coleman saved his side twice in the opening exchanges, denying Conor Forker and Shea McGerrigan before Gerard Rooney headed in Miskimmin’s cross for Glenavon’s opener.
Michael McKee then struck the bar from a tight angle before Coleman made two more top drawer saves to deny ex Glenavon duo Shea Campbell and Darren Murphy.
His stout goalkeeping was soon rewarded, as Mitchell doubled the lead on 39 minutes. The young forward was played in by defender Niall Lavery before rounding the keeper and striking into the empty net.
Mitchell then turned provider as the Blues made it 3-0. He fed a pass to Chris Lavery who raced past his marker and finished low into the net. Mitchell bagged his second of the evening on 89 minutes, after he got on the end of Darren McKnight’s cross-field ball and stroked a left-foot effort past the keeper.
The Blues will now face either Loughgall or Newry City in the final on Tuesday 20th March.
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Curran, Heffernan, Liam Donnelly, Baldwin, Collins, Murphy, C. Forker, Funston, Campbell, P. Donnelly, McGerrigan.
Subs: Ryan O’Neill for McGerrigan (45), Stefan Lavery for Forker (67), Daniel McNulty for Funston (67).
GLENAVON: Coleman, McVeigh, McGarry, Niall Lavery, Gordon, Adams, McKee, Rooney, Miskimmin, Mitchell, Chris Lavery.
Subs: Lindsay for Miskimmin (65), Munce for Rooney (75), McKnight for C Lavery (85).