Glenavon gains off Matthew Fitzpatrick’s Irish League lessons

A relaxed Matthew Fitzpatrick stood smiling in the sunshine on Saturday evening discussing the absence of pressure...following a performance against Linfield defined by that same act.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:11 pm

The former Belfast Celtic striker is thriving at Mourneview Park under the guidance of manager Gary Hamilton off the field and growing partnership on it with Danny Purkis.

Both forwards finished with spots on the scoresheet in the weekend win over league leaders Linfield by 3-2 - rewards for high-energy displays at the head of a Glenavon team performance which disrupted league leaders Linfield.

“Matthew Fitzpatrick and Danny Purkis have come in from Belfast Celtic and East Belfast,” said Hamilton in tribute. “I know ‘Fitzy’ was at Coleraine for a bit but didn’t play much and Danny was at Glentoran but this is probably their first full seasons each playing regularly in the Irish League.

Glenavon striker Matthew Fitzpatrick following his goal against Linfield. Pic by Pacemaker.

“You can see the running and energy they put in and we had to pull them out for a few weeks as we were worried about burning them out.

“It probably was the best thing as they’ve come back and been in great form since, with ‘Fitzy’ now on 12 goals and Danny 11.”

Fitzpatrick credits Hamilton’s man-management as key.

“Gary has given me that chance to play every week, make mistakes, do things wrong and correct it...which is the biggest compliment I can pay him,” said Fitzpatrick. “The problem for me at Coleraine was they were in a title race and if you didn’t play well you were out...which I know is the case but when starting out and making a jump I needed games.

“Although 26, it was basically my first year so I needed nearly to be playing, not play well and still be playing the next week.

“That’s what Gary has done for me, I feel like I’m improving and I’m enjoying it.

“Today you could see the way Gary is and how we are, no matter what we are always positive and, as an attacker, it’s great to play in.

“Danny Purkis is a joy...he’s big and strong, holds the ball up well and wins a lot of headers I can gamble off.

“I trust him, which is massive, I really like playing alongside him, hopefully he feels the same and long may it continue.”

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