Gary’s ‘emergency only’ playing role

Paul Millar picks of the BT Sport Manager of the Month award for April on behalf of Gary Hamilton from Stephen Watson .
Paul Millar picks of the BT Sport Manager of the Month award for April on behalf of Gary Hamilton from Stephen Watson .

Gary Hamilton, who won his first BT Sport Manager of the Month Award this week, will be registered as a player for Glenavon next season - but he admitted it would be more of an ‘emergency role’ for him.

Since a scan revealed a series of injuries which would require surgery and a long recovery period Hamilton’s playing role has been limited.

Indeed, he was advised not to play again by a specialist, but continued to make himself available for key games over the final few months of the season.

“I’ll not be playing too much next season,” said Hamilton. “We can’t afford to have five or six strikers so if we have some of our front men injured then I can perhaps play a part.

“There could be a situation where I will be on the bench but hopefully over the summer we can get the business done in that area and I don’t have to play that much.”

As for the monthly BT Sport Award announced on Wednesday, Hamilton is no stranger to picking up the NIFWA award as a playerwith his tally of seven Player of the Month awards, the last of which was in October 2011.

But he has now won his first manager of the month prize after three and a half years in charge. Last month Glenavon won their first four games to guarantee that top three slot, with Hamilton also having steered them to a Premiership club record of seven wins in a row, having also won their last three games in March.

Gary was unable to receive his award in person but assistant manager Paul Millar picked it up on his behalf.

“It has been a tremendous last four months for the club. Saturday’s defeat was only our second in the league in 2015, both to champions Crusaders, so it is a well deserved honour for Gary,” said Millar.

“Since I came back from England in 1996, this has been one of the most competitive Irish League seasons ever, so tight and there are literally no easy games.”

Glenavon are still waiting on confirmation if the Setanta Cup is going ahead this year.

It would be Glenavon’s debut in the All-Ireland competition having qualified by winning the Irish Cup last season.

“I have been told there is a launch on May 7 and that provisional dates of games include Saturday, June 20, Monday June 22, Tuesday June 23 and Wednesday, June 24,” said club chairman Adrian Teer.

“We have asked for the dates and the prizemoney to be sent to us in writing but as yet we have heard nothing.”

Glenavon coach Nigel Law has been working on his pre-season schedule which will see the Lurgan Blues back in training on June 6.

“We will start with four sessions in a block week and build up the intensity,” explained Nigel.

“We would like three friendly games before the Europa League first leg tie on July 2. The plan is to get the squad in the best possible shape for Europe.”