GARY Hamilton has called on his Glenavon side to go for victory when they take on bitter rivals Portadown on Boxing Day (kick-off 3pm).

The Blues are fresh off the back of a 3-2 victory over Crusaders at Mourneview Park and with confidence on the up following Hamilton’s arrival, the side are in bullish mood as they prepare to host the high-flying Ports.

Having spent much of career in top teams at Portadown and Glentoran, the new gaffer is used to winning matches, and it’s an attitude that he’s looking to bring to Mourneview Park, continuing on Monday afternoon.

“I’m a winner and I always want to win games,” said Hamilton.

“I’m not saying that we’re always going to win and if it’s not to be, it’s not to be. I always want to win games and I’m not going to go into matches saying that I want a draw. As long as my boys give their all, I’ll defend them to the hilt.

“The most important thing is that the players work hard. It’s hard work that gets you out of situations like the one we’re in at the minute.

“It’s a massive game and the derbies didn’t go too badly for Glenavon last year, bar the Irish Cup replay.”

Winning won’t be easy in this one, as Portadown are currently enjoying a fantastic season, sitting in second spot just five points behind leaders Linfield. Hamilton is confident in his team’s ability though and says they can cause problems for his former side:

“I watched Portadown last week and they’ve got a lot of quality throughout their side. Although they were already 3-0 down, DC (Donegal Celtic) matched them for 15-20 minutes, got in amongst them and got a few tackles in.

“It could have ended up going to 3-3 in that period but it didn’t happen and Portadown hit them with the sucker punch.

“I know what Portadown are all about having played against them a couple of weeks ago as well. They have a lot of quality throughout their side and we’ll have to stop that quality and outwork the rest.

“If we can outwork other teams then we have the quality to hurt them and to win games.

“Football’s a simple game and the more players that outwork their opposite number, the more chance we have of winning the game.”

Cameron Grieve and Chris Lavery missed the victory over Crusaders due to injury and it looks like they’ll have their work cut out to get back into the side for the derby.

“We’ll have to assess how the injuries are but if anyone comes in for the game against Crusaders and impresses me then they’ll be in with a shout of playing on Boxing Day as well,” Hamilton had said before the 3-2 win.