‘Survial is key’ as cup defence begins

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton

Gary Hamilton says ‘survival is the key’ as Glenavon begin the defence of the Irish Cup at Moyola Park on Saturday.

The Championship 2 side have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this fifth round cup tie.

“This is like a cup final for them,” says Hamilton. “They are at home and host the cup holders so we know the pressure is all on us to get through.

“They have an artificial surface which we have not played on for a while but we will adapt for the tie and hopefully get the result we want.”

Last season Glenavon began their journey to glory with a 7-0 win over Sport & Leisure, but Hamilton is not thinking about big scores.

“I’ll be happy with a 1-0 win. In the cup it is all about survival. You can play well and go out. You can also play badly and get through, there are no second chances. “We have usually coped well in these situations. The players have been very professional in their approach and we will have to repeat that on Saturday.

“In this type of tie it is a potential banana skin so our aim is to try and get the first goal as that helps hit their confidence.

“If we don’t, the longer it stays scoreless then they grow in confidence.”

Being cup holders puts the spotlight on the Lurgan Blues, but the player manager believes they go into the cup in a similar fashion to last season.

“Even though we are the holders we are not one of the favourites to win it and that uits us fine,” added Gary.

“Linfield, Cliftonville, Portadown and Crusaders will all be fancied ahead of us. All we can do it make sure we get into the draw and see where that takes us.”

Moyola Park were the first ever winners of the Irish Cup. Founded in 1880, they defeated Cliftonville a year later to lift the trophy.