Players need to be strong - Hamilton

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GARY Hamilton has challenged his Glenavon players to develop a greater mental strength after their recent poor form.

The Blues ended their disappointing run with a scintillating victory over Glentoran on Monday to seal their place in the Irn-Bru League Cup semi-finals. Now Hamilton wants his team to put the memories of that run of four straight league defeats to good use and become mentally stronger ahead of Saturday’s home game against Donegal Celtic (kick-off 3pm).

With the Blues sitting just three points off bottom two DC and Lisburn Distillery, the game is the proverbial six-pointer but Hamilton is sure that some diligence and a changed mental attitude will be enough to see his side to victory.

He said: “They’re all big matches. We’ll keep working hard. In life, hard work gets you through everything.

“We’ll get back to basics. The harder you work, the more luck you get as well. We know that we have the ability in our side to cause teams problems, we just have to keep working.

“It’s the same squad that beat teams like Crusaders and were 2-0 up against Linfield but their confidence had gone during that run. The difference between teams in the bottom half and the top half of the table is you don’t get many really mentally strong players at the bottom.

“That’s why, if we go through a few bad defeats, the fans getting on their backs affects them. It takes players being mentally strong and we need them to do that now.

“For example, we started well against Crusaders on Saturday. Then we concede a goal and the heads go down. You can’t teach a player that.

“The players brought all our hard work into the start of Saturday’s game but then the confidence went and you could see it happening. The mentally strong players are the ones who can get back into games like that. We have a lot of quality, talented players at our club but we need them to be mentally strong.”

Monday evening’s game saw a return to form for a lot of Hamilton’s side but the gaffer is still keen to get Niall Henderson and Brendan Shannon back in to add depth to his squad sooner rather than later.

He said: “We’re going to work hard all week and do everything in our power to get those players back. Brendan’s been training all last week but we need to see him kicking a ball and see how he gets on before we decide whether or not to play him. We’re also going to try and get a game for Niall Henderson to play this week and see how he gets on. Hopefully we’ll get those players back into the squad soon. We’re doing everything we can to get our best players back onto the pitch.”