IRISH LEAGUE: Hamilton backing young guns over Glenavon rush into transfer market

James Gray celebrating for Glenavon against Portstewart in the Irish Cup. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
James Gray celebrating for Glenavon against Portstewart in the Irish Cup. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton is refusing to rush into the January transfer market to bolster his depleted panel and will instead confirm the club’s commitment to youth.

The Lurgan Blues play host on Saturday to title-chasing Linfield with options restricted by bans and injury blows.

Rhys Marshall, James Singleton and David Elebert must serve suspensions and Glenavon also face lengthy lay-offs for Andy Hall and Andrew Doyle after operations.

However, Hamilton has no plans to play the numbers game in this New Year window and wants to continue to offer an internal avenue.

Eoin Bradley and Paddy McCourt have left Mourneview Park, with Glenavon signing James Gray and Aaron Canning. Kevin Braniff has requested a transfer, with Ballymena United registering formal interest.

“Mark Sykes will come back into the squad following a family bereavement, Kevin is going to remain part of our plans unless there is a suitable deal, Kyle Neill an injury doubt,” said Hamilton.

“We have more than enough young players coming up the club ranks and even on Saturday you could see how hungry Jack O’Mahoney was coming off the bench.

“There is no pressure in any way during January.

“Ballymena have been in contact regarding a pre-contract for Kevin, with some interest from Ards but nothing formal.

“We can take confidence from recent games and there will be chances for other players to step up and stake a claim.”

Glenavon face Linfield fresh from Irish Cup progress last weekend against Portstewart by 4-1 thanks to a Gray double, Andy McGrory penalty and Kris Lindsay header.