Glenavon boss keeping the faith

With Jimmy Nesbitt watching on, Coleraine rescued a point against Glenavon
With Jimmy Nesbitt watching on, Coleraine rescued a point against Glenavon

Glenavon boss refusing to push the panic button after frustrating run of results.

Glenavon enter a derby test this weekend aiming to move on from September’s sequence of scorelines to forget.

Last weekend’s sucker-punch at Coleraine Showgrounds left the Lurgan Blues with a share of the spoils despite holding a 2-0 lead up to 82 minutes.

It marked the third successive Danske Bank Premiership date in which Glenavon let slip a position of strength following previous frustrations against Glentoran and Dungannon Swifts.

Three consecutive Irish League draws off the back of defeat at home by Ballinamallard United left September as a month of bad memories.

Results have attracted an angry response from some sections of the Glenavon support and manager Gary Hamilton accepts the right of the fans to express this frustration but maintains a belief in progress both short-term and long-term.

“I accept from the outside of the club people look only at results and also internally we may be victims of our own success in some ways as fans’ expectations coming into the season were high,” said the former Northern Ireland international striker. “From the viewpoint of the coaching staff, it is about moving forward each season and, compared to nine games in to last year’s programme, we have one extra point.

“Therefore, despite results in recent weeks, we do not see it as cause for major concern.

“We feel we have a squad of players that can prove competitive against any side but a title challenge, being realistic, is still some way off.

“However, that does not mean we do not back the quality at the club and I am certain we will improve as the season continues because players will return from injury and suspension.

“I look back across the recent games and feel circumstances went against us in terms of penalty appeals or goals ruled out that could have made the difference.

“You have got to accept you may not always get the rub of the green and hope that everything pans out the right way over the course of the season.

“To be honest, I am more pleased with the performance levels against Glentoran, Dungannon Swifts and Coleraine compared to Ballinamallard.

“If we continue to produce that standard of play then results will certainly come for us.”

Hamilton and his coaching team put greater value on positive play than negative results.

“I have not had my full squad available this season due to injuries and suspensions, which obviously has an impact on the depth,” said Hamilton. “I have not been able to put out my strongest eleven this season but we analyse the margins, take a step back and look at the bigger picture and take heart from how we have one point more at this stage of the season compared to last season.

“We do not become a bad team overnight and over the last few weeks I feel we are getting back to the right level of play, the style of football I would associate with this squad.

“Paddy McCourt and Kevin Braniff are just two examples of players building up fitness levels and minutes on the pitch who, over time, can make a real difference.”

Kick-off will be 3 o’clock.