Back-to-back defeats may have Warrenpoint Town fans fearing a repeat of last season’s dismal start to the Danske Bank Premiership - but boss Stephen McDonnell is keeping his faith in the long game.
Having conceded 10 goals across the opening two league dates - and with a six-game losing run from the start of last season still so fresh - Warrenpoint visit Glenavon in search of a way to stop the rot.
Despite results, McDonnell remains positive and highlights injuries as key to the current pain game.
“When you have eight players or so missing then certain aspects remain out of our control,” said McDonnell. “We are facing injuries hard to gauge a timeline over returns but I’m confident our fortunes will improve as our options increase.
“You look at the Larne squad and a Crues panel with such a great record, so those two games to kick off the season stand as hard as they come probably.
“But we have to accept the situation and look internally for solutions and, thankfully, the environment remains positive.
“We look on it, too, as presenting opportunities for the younger players within the club to gain experience - and also for others to step forward and grab the chance.
“Ultimately, we feel we can compete with anyone on our day so must be confident that, once we get back up to full strength, we can make up any lost ground.”
Glenavon finished last season’s league campaign with a club record tally of top-flight points - but welcome Warrenpoint to Lurgan in search of a first win.
A draw with Glentoran to kick off the current programme featured a goal conceded on four minutes, with Cliftonville’s midweek win also sparked by the loss of a clean sheet within the initial moments.
“You cannot concede so early on in any game and expect to win,” said Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton. “But each game was different if you look at the circumstances.
“Glentoran scored a decent goal but we look on the Cliftonville game as due to errors on our part, from letting the cross into the box to not marking inside the area.
“One positive from both situations is how the boys accepted the responsibility and you could see they are hurting off the back it all.
“If you look at the matching games last year, we drew with Glentoran at home and lost to Cliftonville away.
“Now we take on Warrenpoint Town, who left Mourneview Park with a win and draw last season, so we will not under-estimate anything about results so far and our attitude must be right.”