Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton expecting tough derby test despite league table

Gary Hamilton. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Gary Hamilton. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Gary Hamilton says it will all come down to who wants it the most when his Glenavon side travel to rivals Portadown on Boxing Day.

The Lurgan Blues boss thinks it will be a real Christmas Cracker in front of a sell out crowd at Shamrock Park.

Glenavon’s stop start season continued on Saturday as with a 3-1 defeat at Crusaders, while new Ports boss Niall Currie picked up his first win at home to Dungannon Swifts.

“It’s a bit of a cliché but the form book really goes out of the window in games like this,” said Hamilton. “It will all come down to who wants it the most.

“For me Portadown are in a false position because of the points they lost, they have actually had some decent results this season.

“I know a few managers who would like to have the quality they have in their squad.

“So we know it will be a tough test for us, but it’s one we will be up for without a doubt.

“We have sold out our allocation and we will be doing all we can to send our fans home happy on the day,” he added.

They may not have picked up three points but Gary Hamilton says he was pleased with Glenavon’s second half display against Crusaders.

“We played really well after half time and were probably a bit unlucky not to take something out of the game,” he told the Lurgan Mail. “The second half performance was more equal in terms of chances created, that’s a positive for the players.

“I think the penalty is the turning point in the game. I know on television it looks like he has come across his body, but I was sitting behind the goals and if you look at it carefully there is definitely a tangling of legs as well.

“When a centre forward is in that position there’s no way he’s going to go down.

“The last time we played Crusaders we had a couple of penalty shouts turned done too.

“We’re not getting the rub of the green in terms of the big decisions, but that’s football you just have to get on with it.

“We asked the players for a response after the Carrick defeat, when it just wasn’t good enough.

“Our will to win and our drive was back again and I will be aiming for us to carry that into the Boxing Day game.

“Boxing Day games are probably the biggest games you will play in as a player bar cup finals or league deciders,

“Thankfully our players have had a lot of experience in recent years of playing in big games so it shouldn’t phase them.

“They won’t need any motivation to play in a game like this, but the minimum I ask for is that they give 100%.

“The only disappointment is the restriction on fan numbers as I know we could have sold another 500 tickets if we had got them, and it would have benefitted Portadown too.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton revealed he is hoping to do some business once the transfer window reopens.

“Like all managers I will be looking to bring in a couple of players in January and probably move on a few too,” he said. “It all depends on a few factors though and who is available come the new year, but we will definitely be in the market to strengthen the squad.”