IRISH CUP: Hamilton sticking to Glenavon gameplan as Dungannon Swifts seek second knockout boost

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

Gary Hamilton is keeping his faith in the Glenavon tactical blueprint despite fresh frustration at failure to secure clean sheets.

The Lurgan Blues play host to Dungannon Swifts in a derby date with a Tennent’s Irish Cup quarter-final spot as the prize.

Dungannon Swifts boss Rodney McAree. Pic by INPHO.

Dungannon Swifts boss Rodney McAree. Pic by INPHO.

The potential big rewards of one step closer to the showpiece final come with the pressure of small margins that can define the high stakes of any knockout tie.

Draws in recent Danske Bank Premiership games against Warrenpoint Town and Cliftonville within four days arrived despite Glenavon enjoying positions of power in each fixture before having to settle for a share of the spoils.

However, Hamilton is refusing to rip up the gameplan which has delivered such impressive progress under his time as manager.

“Clean sheets seem to be a luxury when it comes to our brand of football,” said Hamilton. “But we will not change our style or how we approach games.

“At the start when we were struggling towards the bottom of the table we maybe went 4-5-1 at times away to some of the top sides but, with improvement over time, our confidence increased against any opponent.

“We have a belief in the work we do with these players and time put in to adjust everyone to a certain gameplan built over time.

“It comes down to trust, in our training and our players.

“I have always approached games based on trying to score more goals than the other team, rather than a negative set-up.

“Cup football comes down to one chance at a result but we will always have faith that, if we put in the commitment and go in with the right mindset, that presents our best chance of victory.

“Games between us and Dungannon Swifts tend to be high-scoring affairs and everything is in place for a cracking cup tie.”

The Swifts make the short journey to Lurgan aiming for a second knockout scoreline to savour inside a few days following Tuesday’s BetMcLean League Cup semi-final success over high-flying Crusaders.

Rodney McAree, the current Swifts boss and former Glenavon player, admits admiration for the building blocks established by the Mourneview Park men off Irish Cup honours.

“The quarter-finals of the Irish Cup would put us another game towards a final and the Crusaders win on Tuesday night can only give us a taste of something we want to use as inspiration,” said McAree. “It is very difficult going to Glenavon and offers a test similar to the League Cup semi-final as up against a strong squad.

“You see how Glenavon have pushed on from reaching finals and winning cups, the benefits can go a long way to helping your club.

“For both games our approach must be it is difficult but not impossible, so we work on an approach that can try to take advantage of any weak points by Glenavon and counteract the strengths.

“It is about setting out your stall to stay in the tie for as long as possible, then being ready to grab any opportunity that may come along.

“There may be a toll playing such a tough game so soon after the Crusaders match but that is up to us to manage the emotional boost from reaching a final with the physical reality.

“I’m 43 years old and ambitious as a manager and want to achieve success, especially for Dungannon as a club that means so much to me on a personal level.

“Following the semi-final, it is about taking that hunger and using it to push on.”