TONY’S BACK

TONY Grant has this week made a sensational return to Glenavon.

The 35 year-old striker, who left the club just eight months ago and has been plying his trade at Leinster Senior League side Glebe North, put pen to paper on Tuesday evening at Mourneview Park, signing on until the end of the season to reunite his partnership with Gary Hamilton and attempt to aid the club’s goal-scoring problem.

Grant is, of course, a Glenavon legend after his heroics in the 1997 Irish Cup final when he sunk Cliftonville with a close-range goal. He was since brought back for a second stint at the club where he played alongside current player/manager Gary Hamilton.

During that spell he impressed his then strike-partner and Hamilton says that Grant’s experience will be invaluable in his third time at the club as Glenavon fight to retain their Carling Premiership status.

“We’ve had talks and hopefully we can free up the wage to bring Tony Grant back to Glenavon,” he said before the striker’s move was finalised.

“Obviously I played with Tony last year and he loves the club first and foremost. His attitude is spot on and obviously he’ll score goals and work hard too. He brings so much to the team.”

The gaffer last season described Grant as “exceptional” and “a joy to play with” and now looks set to renew his partnership with the Balbriggan man, who will be hoping to add to his 116 goal tally for the club.

“Sometimes you play with people and find it easier than playing with others,” Hamilton said last season.

“Since I’ve joined Glenavon, Tony Grant has been exceptional and has been a joy to play with. Sometimes you only realise how good somebody actually is when you play with them and that has to be said of Tony. His attitude’s first class and he never stops running.

“For a man of his age, he does so much work for the team and it hurts him when we get beaten too. He wants to win every game and I think any young kid should watch him because he’s a great example.”

The Mourneview Park player/manager, who will take to the field for his side this weekend for the first time since taking over, hopes that clearance will come through to allow Grant to join him in the weekend’s relegation six-pointer against Distillery:

“The only problem in his international clearance because he was playing down south so at the very least he’ll be available for the Irish Cup match but hopefully he’ll be able to play this weekend as well.”