Connolly all clear for Reds game

My ball... Glenavon's John Connelly gets to the ball ahead of Michael Carvill.
My ball... Glenavon's John Connelly gets to the ball ahead of Michael Carvill.

Glenavon goalkeeper John Connolly should be fit to face his former side Cliftonville on Saturday.

The 36 year-old received four stitches after saving from Dungannon’s David McCullough on Friday night but, according to his boss, that won’t keep him out of his return to face the Reds at Solitude.

Gary Hamilton said: “I don’t see why anyone couldn’t play with stitches. He’ll be assessed in training and all being well will be fit to play.”

Although there might not be a change between the sticks, there will be others across the pitch after Friday’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Dungannon Swifts.

“You can’t have a performance like that and not make changes,” said Hamilton. “Nobody can have any complaints. Other players have been waiting in the wings. They’ll get their chance on Saturday.”

That doesn’t mean a return to the starting line-up on Cliftonville’s artificial surface for the boss, although Blues fans may not have to wait long to see him back on the starting sheet.

“I know if I play on Saturday I’d be out for four or five weeks after,” he said.

“I’ll definitely play the week after. I’ve been patient and allowed the boys to play because we were doing well but over the past few weeks they’ve started to look like they need a rest. A change might do them good as they recharge their batteries so it’s time for me to come back in.”

Cliftonville are fresh off the back of a 3-0 win over Linfield and Hamilton knows his side will have their work cut out.

“Cliftonville have hit a bit of form and they’re back in contention for the league title again.

“They’ve got a bigger pool of players than we do and, let’s be honest, Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley are a different class in this league. They’ve got so much quality in behind them and Mark Smyth is one of the best centre-backs in the league at the minute.

“On paper teams like Cliftonville should be beating us but we did well down there at the start of last season and we can do it again. It’s a difficult place to go, even more so than Windsor Park but we always try and win every game.

“After such a good win over Linfield, they might think it’ll be easy against us, take their foot off the pedal and that could work in our favour.”