Challenge to the players

AFTER an altogether pleasing end to 2012 for Glenavon, Gary Hamilton wants 2013 to be a year of mental progress.

The Blues have certainly shown signs of progress in the closing two months of the year and the player/manager is challenging his squad to use those signs to spur them on even further.

Hamilton is asking for a change in mentality around the club, as they start to pick up wins on a more regular basis. The boss wants his side to go out expecting to emerge victorious each week - an attitude than has long been absent from Mourneview Park.

“It’s a hard thing to drill into the players,” he said.

“That’s why I keep saying we want people with winning mentalities and who believe they can get three points every time they go onto the pitch.

“That all comes from adding the likes of Ciaran Martyn and Eddie McCallion. They’ve had a big influence in the changing room and on how people think. We need players with that mentality to succeed. They don’t accept defeat. Maybe in days gone by it’s been accepted and just becomes the norm but I don’t like that.

“We need players to hurt after getting beaten and then to go about putting it right. I think it’s starting to change now. The boys are now confident when they go out onto the pitch. I questioned that after the Crusaders game.

“No matter who I’ve played against in my career, I always believe the team could get a result and that I could influence the game. That’s the number one ingredient for a player. If you doubt yourself, you won’t perform to the best of your ability.

“We need the boys to be confident in their own ability and we’re seeing signs of that now. At the end of the day, I know my boys can win every game they play.”

Hamilton is also maintaining his target of steering clear of any relegation threat while he also has his eyes set on another cup run following his side’s exit at the semi-final stage of the League Cup.

He said: “The aim has always been to be clear of relegation by the time we go into the last five games. I want to be in a position to give our young guys some experience.

“Hopefully by that stage we’ll know which of our experienced players we want to keep and let go. Then we can play a few of the young guys to prepare for next season.

“The other aim was to get a good cup run which we have done but I think if the draw goes right and we perform, we can get another one in the Irish Cup.”