Blues hit by injuries

GLENAVON travel to Solitude on Saturday to begin their Danske Bank Premiership campaign with a depleted squad.

The Blues take on Cliftonville (kick-off 3pm) with captain Brendan Shannon and new signing Andy Kilmartin both suspended whilst Mark Haughey, Mark Turkington, Niall Henderson, Kris Lindsay, Andrew Mitchell and Conor Hagan are injured and Andy McGrory is on holidays.

That leaves a threadbare squad for Hamilton to pick from and the team could have a strong resemblance to the starting eleven that took on Glebe North last weekend. The boss knows that it will be a tall order to pick up a victory away to what will likely be a top of the table side but he isn’t ruling out picking up some sort of a result.

“It won’t be easy because Cliftonville have a top squad,” he said.

“If we had a full squad to pick from, I’d be very confident of getting a result but even with the way things are, there’s no reason why we can’t go and get some sort of a result.

“The boys were told on Saturday that the majority of that line-up would be the starting team for Saturday. There might be a wee change here and there but we’re down to the bare bones with the injuries and suspensions.

“We’ve still got a decent team and a decent starting eleven so if we can get the effort right, hopefully we can come away with something.”

Mark Haughey returned from injury last weekend but Hamilton is refusing to risk him on Cliftonville’s artificial surface and so Robbie White is likely to again partner Sean McCashin in defence. However, it was Glenavon’s midfield that had a particularly unfamiliar look against Glebe and could do so again this weekend.

Nigerian trialist Monday Awoyomi played the full match whilst Hamilton himself also dropped back, allowing Matty Burrows to partner Guy Bates up front. Hamilton is also resigned to again having to play in midfield in the season’s curtain-raiser this weekend.

“I played in midfield last Saturday and that’s something we’ll look at,” he said.

“Whether I play in the centre or on the right or whatever, it’s something to look at. It’s needs must at the minute and I’m the only one of the front three who can naturally fit back in there. It’s not where I envisage myself playing for the season or anything but at the minute I need to play where the team needs me.

“I’ve played in midfield before in my career and it’s nothing new to me. I don’t think I’m quite as effective there but I can do a job and I’ll take on the responsibility of playing out of position myself, rather than ask someone else to do it.”

The boss also hasn’t ruled out Amoyomi joining him on Saturday’s teamsheet, should the Duleek man impress this week and earn himself a contract.

“He came up and was training with us and played on Saturday,” he told the ‘MAIL.’

“He did OK but we’ll have to have another look at him. We can’t offer him a contract on the back of seeing him play twice so we’ll look at him this week, especially against Loughgall on Wednesday and see.”
Meanwhile, the boss is excited at the quality of young players coming through the club’s youth system with another two youth team players taking to the pitch for the first team last weekend.

He said: “Jordan Dane and Singleton came off the bench on Saturday, both of them only 16 and they were excellent. It’s promising for Glenavon having young kids coming through and all of them doing so well. The way they performed, I’d have no fear of throwing them in because that’s how much progress they’re making.

“They are just back from the Milk Cup and we all know the money isn’t there at Glenavon so we have to rely on the kids coming through.”