ANDREW Mitchell is set for his full debut this Saturday as Glenavon take on Carrick Rangers in a crunch bottom of the table clash.
With Gary Hamilton ruled out through injury, Mitchell will pick up his first league start as Glenavon look to lift themselves above their opponents with a win in Saturday’s key match at Mourneview Park (kick-off 3pm).
“I came off with a hamstring injury last week so that’s another player out for a few weeks but thinking of the positives, that means Andrew’s going to get a chance,” Hamilton said.
“It’s good that we’re not just going to be playing with three strikers this season in Tony Grant, Mark Miskimmin and myself but we’ll have Andrew as well.
“There’s no reason why he won’t start on Saturday unless he gets injured in training this week.
“In terms of performance, he’s well deserving of it. He had the Donegal Celtic defenders all over the place last week. When he plays like that against those sort of defenders it gives us a lot of hope.”
Glenavon currently sit two points below Carrick at the foot of the table and Hamilton says that his side must start picking up results as they battle to avoid relegation.
“We keep talking about it, saying hopefully next week but we have to start doing it,” he said.
“There are positives but we have to start taking our chances and keep defending the way we did last Saturday. DC only had about two chances over the whole 90 minutes so if we defend like that we’ll be OK. If we can create chances and take them as well then we’ll be more than OK.”
Saturday’s game at Mourneview Park will be a big chance for his team to get their first league victory of 2012, and Hamilton is under no illusions as to the game’s importance.
“It’s a massive game on Saturday but when you’re down there, they all are,” he said.
“If the boys play the way they did against DC, they should be ok.
“It was always going to be an important game. We can’t underestimate how important it is but there are still a lot of points to play for. There are a lot of games to come and all we need is that one win. Hopefully we can take confidence from that and go on and do well.
“We had nine or ten good goal-scoring chances last Saturday and all we need now are the goals but that’s why the goal-scorers get paid the most money, because it’s the hardest part of the game.”
Meanwhile Carrick manager Michael Hughes said Mourneview Park has a special affection for Rangers supporters because it’s where they secured their first win in the Premier League back in August and Hughes would dearly love to repeat that achievement on Saturday.
He added: “We are going to Lurgan to win the game and we have every reason to be confident because we have a tremendous squad now and, with three or four players back from injury and suspension, we can choose from a more of less full squad. I face a few headaches, actually, in trying to pick the team.
“Both clubs are desperate for points, a win for us potentially putting five points between us and that would be quite a big gap at this time in the season. It would be nice.”