Glenavon: Gary Hamilton highlights hard facts ahead of trip to Cliftonville in bid to arrest poor run

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.

Gary Hamilton has turned to hard facts and figures in a bid to analyse then arrest Glenavon’s dismal Danske Bank Premiership form.

Six successive games without success across the league, within a sequence of only a single win from nine Premiership appearances, has left the Lurgan Blues dropping down the standings.

It is a run of form Hamilton remains determined to resolve but aware of the reality of factors like high-profile player exits and injuries on a strained squad as key.

“We look at everything and always analyse our situation, so understand obviously that two wins in 13 league games is not good enough for the club,” said Hamilton. “There are four or five draws which should have resulted in wins and often, looking back, we can highlight a goal here or there as the difference.

“Individual errors have cost us but, in terms of performances, we have come away from games frustrated at not getting more from our play.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it but have also never had a season like it in terms of so many factors.”

Glenavon head off to Solitude in search of a weekend boost - with Hamilton left to reflect on issues outside his control as damaging to team progress.

“You take the long-term injuries this season to Andrew Doyle and Sammy Clingan, then periods of a three of four weeks, or more, out for people like Conor McCloskey, Josh Daniels and Andy Hall.

“We’ve also had to do without Andrew Mitchell and Stephen Murray at times and those absences all affect momentum.

“Then you consider the players who have left over the past number of months - with Simon Kelly and Andy McGrory both opting to turn down contract offers before the start of the season, then Bobby Burns and Mark Sykes both moving across the water into full-time football, plus losing Ben Doherty.

“With the financial limitations, we cannot carry a large squad comparable to many of our rivals and losing five, six or seven starters is going to hurt.”

However, the recent addition of Robert Garrett has added both energy and experience into Hamilton’s panel.

“Hopefully, Robbie coming in can give us a lift,” said the Glenavon boss. “Then another positive is how team spirit remains strong and it is during the difficult times you get tested most but we trust in the group and our hard work.”

Glenavon’s opponents also sit in a slump but with fresh focus thanks to the appointment this week of Michael Press as interim manager in the aftermath of a weekend departure by Barry Gray.

Press is a former Cliftonville Olympic boss.

“I want our fans to know that I’ll be working my hardest to put things right,” said Press on the official Cliftonville website. “I understand the supporters’ frustrations.

“I’m a supporter myself so I know exactly how they feel about results over the last period of time, but I also know how good this team and squad can be.

“We’re not far away, but we need momentum - that starts with the team, although the supporters can help too because having them on our side is important.

“Cliftonville has always been a family and families stick together through tough times.

Myself, Marc Smyth and Barry Johnston will do everything we can in the lead-up...we’ll ask the players to take things on board and work hard for each other – and I know that’s what our supporters will respond to.”