Wary of the Welders

GLENAVON boss Gary Hamilton wants his players to have the experience of playing in an Irish Cup final.

The Blues begin their cup campaign on Saturday as they host Championship One side Harland and Wolff Welders before travelling to take on Dungannon in the Premiership on Tuesday evening.

Hamilton is dreaming of a cup final outing for his side, but also warned his team must have a professional attitude if they are to overcome the Welders.

He said: “I’ve played in two finals in my career and there’s no better feeling than a day out in the cup final. I’d love our boys to experience that but there’s a long way to go before then.

“First up we have Harland and Wolff and we’ll definitely not be under-estimating them. We know if we don’t play to our capabilities then teams can beat us. That was proved against DC.

“Harland and Wolff have a lot of experienced players who have played in the Premier League. When they’re playing in a cup tie against a Premiership club, they’ll be looking to prove why they should still be in the top league.

“They’ll raise their games to do that. It’s a natural reaction. First and foremost, we have to win the battle. If we do that, our quality should show through but if we don’t win that, then anything can happen.

“If we go in with the right attitude we should be the better team but anything can happen in cup football. We saw that last week in England when Brighton beat Newcastle and Cardiff were beaten by a lower league team.

“Unless your mind is on the game and you have the right approach, these things can happen.”

Hamilton isn’t anticipating major changes to his line-up, despite the defeat to Crusaders last weekend.

He said: “The team played very well against Crusaders and I don’t think there will be too many changes.

“We’re expecting a couple of suspensions this week so that will change things, but if they don’t come, we won’t be making too many changes.”

The Blues then travel to Stangmore Park looking for their first league win in five games. Hamilton says it’s not a must-win game for his side although says that another performance like their display against Crusaders should see them to victory.

“If we put in the type of performance we did against Crusaders then nine times out of ten, we’ll get a result,” he said.

“If we had played anywhere near that level against DC, we’d have won the game. That game was a one-off and hopefully it stays that way for the rest of my time at the club.

“It’s a big game against Dungannon and it would be good to win but it’s not going to be easy. Dungannon are similar to ourselves in that if they play to their ability, they can match most teams in the league. If they don’t, then any team can beat them.

“That’s the way we are at the minute too but the good thing is it’s a good pitch so hopefully that will suit our style of play.”