DARREN MULLEN: Newry City boss hoping for home comfort from Glenavon visit

Newry City AFC manager Darren Mullen. Pic by INPHO.
Newry City AFC manager Darren Mullen. Pic by INPHO.

Darren Mullen is hoping familiarity breeds consistency rather than contempt as his Newry City AFC squad prepare for a second successive home test under the Friday floodlights.

Having secured a first victory of the club’s first season in the Danske Bank Premiership off the visit last week by Dungannon Swifts, Mullen’s men welcome Glenavon in search of a similar outcome.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.

Mullen accepts the Lurgan Blues present yet another step up in the size of the challenge for his newly-promoted players but is relishing the opportunity to embrace the opportunity.

“The self-belief that comes from beating Dungannon Swifts has been massive off the back of the need to recover from losing the first game away to Institute,” said Mullen. “Dungannon are an established Irish League side but this next match marks the first time we’ve faced one of the top-flight’s top six.

“But we must grab the situation and our development comes down to having that trust in your team-mate.

“One long-term fan said to me after the Dungannon game that it was the hardest-working Newry side in his memory and that has to be the foundation of everything for us.

“We recovered really well from the disappointment of the Institute result and it was great to see the lads remain positive, then show the patience and faith not to panic against Dungannon and get the rewards for our traditional passing game.

“We want to have an even bigger crowd at The Showgrounds for Glenavon and replicate the outcome of the Dungannon match.”

Confidence from greater camaraderie and competition for places could prove key entering back-to-back road trips for Glenavon.

A spirited 4-2 success on the road last weekend at Warrenpoint Town offered the blueprint for what Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton anticipates a similar test in Newry.

Newry City AFC and Warrenpoint have each enjoyed rapid rises up the Irish League ladder to climb out of the Mid-Ulster arena and reach the senior stage off the back of impressive attacking football and home resolve.

“I have so much respect for both clubs and the hard work by those involved to reach this point,” said Hamilton. “I think facing a promoted club so early in the season offers the most difficult test given the momentum from winning so often previously, on top of the buzz of playing at this higher level.

“Newry managed a great result against Dungannon Swifts at home last Friday.”

Encouraging performances across the first fortnight of the league season hand Hamilton cause for optimism.

“We did not get anything from the Linfield game but I was pleased with the performance,” said Hamilton. “Against Warrenpoint we recovered from 1-0 down and grabbed a few quick goals.

“That shows the belief within the squad and the first three goals before half-time, especially, were great examples of the style of incisive football at pace we want to produce.

“That same level of attitude and application will be required on Friday and time and time again this game shows the price you can pay if you allow the mental aspect to drop.

“The increased competition for places helps us on that front too.

“Those are the areas which can make the difference in games.”