Matthew Tipton is enjoying life at Ballymena United

Matthew Tipton
Matthew Tipton

Striker Matthew Tipton has been among the goals this week -- and he is hungry for more.

Ballymena United’s new signing from Linfield will look to enhance his tally in Friday night’s Danske Premiership clash against Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

He broke his duck with a double blast at Dungannon Swifts last Saturday and was at it again in the midweek League Cup win over Newington YC.

Tipton admits he was relieved when the net bulged early in the first half at Stangmore Park.

“I’m always going to be judged on my goals,” he said. “Managers sign me on that basis.

“It’s well documented that Glenn Ferguson said if he could sign a striker who could put 20-plus goals on the table, then Ballymena United could do well.

“We were top of the league after three games without me scoring, which took the pressure off me a bit.

“The manager and staff have been telling me to keep doing what I’m doing and the goals will come, but regardless of what anybody says, for me, it’s still a relief to get off the mark.”

United have been the surprise pace-setters, unbeaten so far, and Tipton, who limped out of the Monday night’s League Cup win, but is expected to shrug off the niggle, adds they team aims to enjoy their elevated status.

He adds: “Why shouldn’t Ballymena United be at the top of the table? If you get a good start, you can maybe cling on in there and ride the wave. If we keep winning, we’ll stay at the top of the league . . . and we’ll enjoy it.

“You have to perform to win games and we’ve been doing that.

“But every match is a battle. It will be the same at Mourneview against a vastle improved Glenavon side.”

United boss Glenn Ferguson insists his boys will to into the match confident, but cautions.

“We go into every game wanting to win it . . . that’s that attitude I want the players to adopt,” he said. “It’s going to be tough against Glenavon. But I think we have now better squad of players, so hopefully, we can go there and give a good account of ourselves.

“We are working hard for each other . . . driving each other on.

“If we maintain the form we have been showing, particularly in our last league game at Dungannon, there is every possibility that we can get a positive result from the game.”

It’s also a re-run of last season’s Irish Cup final in which United’s Tony Kane and Gary Thompson were dismissed in the 2-1 defeat.

“That’s now gone . . . we must look forward now back,” added Ferguson.

Glenavon, buoyed by last week’s thrilling 3-3 draw with champions Cliftonville, are looking to the craft and quality of Kevin Braniff, Eoin Bradley and Guy Bates to shoot down the Sky Blues for the first time this season.

“The lads showed what they are about by scoring twice I the last seven minutes to grab a draw at Cliftonville last week . . . fully merited in my opinion,” said Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton.

“I now want that same commitment against a Ballymena team that have enjoyed some great results recently.”