Keep tie alive target


Glenavon’s euro target next Thursday night is to keep the tie alive for the second leg at Mourneview Park.

The squad and officials head off for Reykjavik on Tuesday to face Iceland Premier League leaders FH Hafnarfjördur in their Europa League tie.

Manager Gary Hamilton is looking forward to the challenge and delighted the game is on grass.

“I’m glad they have a grass pitch and we know the weather is not a factor either,” said Gary.

“We must give ourselves a chance in the second leg, a draw or a one goal deficit would be a good result. If we won it would be brilliant, but we have to be realistic. They are ahead of us as far as match fitness goes and are on a high at the minute as they are unbeaten in the league after nine games.

“A few seasons ago I went to Iceland with Glentoran and we lost 3-0 to KR Reykavik. We sat too deep and were always under pressure. I want to try and press our opponents as high up the pitch as possible and if we give free kicks away it will not be in an area which gives them an advantage.

“They are a strong physical side, they have plenty of height which cause problems from set-pieces so we have to prepare and work extremely hard over the 90 minutes.”

Hamilton conceded backing off was not in the gameplan.

“I will always try and be positive. I think it is the best way to get a result and with the players we have there is always a chance we can get a goal.

“After the final whistle if we are still in the tie then I feel we can give it a real go at Mourneview Park.”

Glenavon will be without key players Mark Patton, James Singleton, William Murphy, Tiarnan Mulvenna and Andy Kilmartin.

“We knew some of the lads would be on holiday but both Tiarnan and James are out injured. That is a big blow, but we have some good experience in the squad now and the arrival of Alan Blayney, Kevin Braniff and Eoin Bradley helps in situations like this.

“FH Hafnarfjördur will be favourites, we only have a couple of games under our belts, but maybe we can cause an upset.

“We showed we could do that in the league and cup last season and it would be great if we could do it in Europe too.”

The official party fly out on Tuesday and return on Friday.

The Mourneview Park pitch will have two Euro ties in a week.

Linfield play their second leg against B36 Torshavn onTuesday July 8th with Glenavon at home on the Thursday.

n Irish Cup winners Glenavon were invited to play in the NI Hospice Charity Shield against Cliftonville on August 2, but had to decline as they have already made a commitment on that date. Cup runners-up Ballymena take their place.