Glenavon’s Gary Hamilton believes his team’s Premiership top six spot is in their own hands.
The Lurgan Blues roared ahead of rivals Ballymena United and into sixth position following their win over Warrenpoint Town at Stangmore Park on Tuesday night.
Hamilton’s fast-improving team face Dungannon Swifts at Mourneview Park on Saturday, knowing that another three points would harden their challenge even further.
The former Northern Ireland striker believes two victories from their last four pre-split games could be enough to clinch their spot among the big boys.
And, considering their opponents – after the Dungannon clash – will be Coleraine, Ballymena and Warrenpoint, Hamilton is oozing with confidence.
“We’ve got ourselves into a position to give us a fighting chance,” said the player-manager.
“If we want to get into the top six, we have to beat the teams around us. If we don’t win two or three of these games we won’t deserve to be there.
“The lads have done tremendously well against the big teams recently and now they have to do it against the bottom six teams.
“If they want to prove to people that they’re a top six team then they have to do it by defeating the teams around them.
“All credit goes to the boys for doing that. When you consider the financial terms that we’re working off, to get boys in playing for the wages they are is great.
“Dungannon are always tough to break down. They have fallen off the pace a little bit in terms of the top six, but they be coming to our place to prove a point.
“But we have a big incentive and we must use that to our advantage.”
Swifts manager Darren Murphy will travel up the M1 looking for full points, even though their chances off reaching the top six are now remote.
“We’re now seven points behind Glenavon, who are in the box seat,” said the former Linfield midfielder.
“We’ve suffered a few defeats by Coleraine and Ballymena in recents weeks, which more or less torpedoed our tops six and Irish Cup.
“But we are not going to let season fizzle out. We have a lot still to play for.”