Glenavon’s Gary Hamilton highlights midweek ‘benefits’ for full-time sides
Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton feels midweek fixtures offer the Premiership’s full-time clubs an advantage over the rest of the top-flight field.
His Lurgan Blues host Larne tonight bolstered by a resolute 0-0 draw on Saturday with Linfield in Lurgan.
Having picked up a point against one full-time side at Mourneview Park, Hamilton’s squad must face a second at the same venue within three days.
And he views the limited time between such demanding games as offering full-time sides a key edge.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Hamilton. “This is where, in my opinion, full-time football benefits.
“Full-time teams should be better midweek than part-time as they go away and recover right during the week.
“Full-time teams can go away after Saturday and do the right recovery and stretching and ice baths.
“Our boys can do bits at home but are working on a Monday and Tuesday.
“So it’s really difficult in this situation for part-time teams (up against full-time).
“But it’s like anything in life...if you start right (like the way we did against Linfield) and maybe get an early goal it can give you more energy that you need.
“That can give you something to hang on to then...that’s the way I think about it and, hopefully, if we do then certainly we will give Larne a game.
“If we don’t, then certainly their fitness levels will start to tell.
“You have to give yourself something to hang on to or to inspire you...so a clean sheet or going a goal up.
“Hopefully we can go out and do that.”
Hamilton is hoping his Glenavon players can build on a display he considered ‘outstanding’ on Saturday in the face of increasing Linfield pressure, particularly from set-pieces, following a red card apiece.
“That’s what I’ve been harping on at them to do for weeks - set-pieces are so important in this league,” said Hamilton. “You have to be able to defend them, especially a team like Linfield as one of the best at set-pieces.
“We showed that gritty side...the other side now is they’ve set themselves a marker.
“Carrick (a 4-0 defeat) the other week was nowhere near acceptable, they were abysmal.
“So I said to the players now today we have to keep to those levels.
“Coming off the back of a couple of bad results, against Carrick and the cup game with Hanover, sometimes hard work gets you out of that and I went with that today and certainly everyone played well.
“I know they can all play but today they set the tone and there’s no excuses now...too many times we’ve failed, not through ability, it comes down to desire or hunger.”
Ballymena United will aim to bounce back from weekend woe in the derby defeat to Coleraine by facing Dungannon Swifts on home soil.
“It was a tough day today, but we dust ourselves down and look forward to Dungannon on Tuesday,” said Ballymena boss David Jeffrey after Saturday’s 3-0 loss. “They will be coming off the back of a tremendous result against Portadown (a 4-1 win), we just have to pick ourselves up and go again.
“Stephen McCullough is back much sooner than we would have liked, which tells you our tale about who we have available to us.
“We had to bring on 18-year-old Spencer Beattie today, Jack Henderson is 19, as is Brendan Barr.
“That’s where we are at, but I’m delighted we have those young men.”
PREMIERSHIP FIXTURES: Ballymena United v Dungannon Swifts, Glenavon v Larne, Glentoran v Linfield (all 7.45 starts)
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