Gary Hamilton: Glenavon boss set to welcome Warrenpoint Town ready for ‘real test’

In a season defined by progress at pace, Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton will prepare for Warrenpoint Town’s weekend visit in pursuit of a rapid recovery.

A last-gasp loss away to Ballymena United marked only the third setback in a campaign built on forward momentum.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.

However, the frustration of Friday night’s 2-1 reverse stands alongside a track record of bouncing back from the previous Danske Bank Premiership defeat and draw.

“I’ve always said the real test comes after a disappointment,” said Hamilton. “That is especially true when it comes to a group of young players, as often those with experience can better handle any poor results.

“But, despite being so young, it is a squad with a decent amount of games and our goal is now to focus on a quick response.

“That has been the case in the past and we want to show that energy so important to how we play.”

Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell.

Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell.

Although home advantage offers a boost in theory, Hamilton highlights the reality of how the loss to Linfield and dropped points against Glentoran both arrived at Mourneview Park.

“Last season our away form was better than at home,” said Hamilton. “But there is that desire to get back on track as quickly as possible and we feel we finished both previous defeats without what we deserved.

“Now we take on a Warrenpoint Town side as one of the division’s in-form teams.

“We know to anticipate a well-organised side with decent attacking players in a squad capable of scoring goals, so I would expect Warrenpoint to stay up again this season.

“It will be great to see Simon Kelly back at Mourneview Park this weekend as we wanted to keep him here but appreciate that friendship with Warrenpoint boss Stephen McDonnell alongside his desire to take up a player/coach role.

“His experience has been invaluable and Simon will always be considered a top professional.”

McDonnell has followed a similar path to Hamilton in making the transition from a respected and highly-regarded playing career across the white line and into the management dug-out.

His initial months in the hot seat have offered the highs and lows of management as McDonnell helped to mastermind Warrenpoint’s successful battle to beat the drop last season.

Six successive defeats to kick off the current Danske Bank Premiership campaign then sparked a sequence of six unbeaten with the subsequent eight outings.

“We were naturally disappointed in the aftermath of last weekend’s draw at Linfield after going within the last kick of the ball from beating what I consider the best team in the league.

“But over time you then take the positives and we now meet the league leaders in Glenavon aware you cannot simply treat fixtures against the bigger clubs as free because quickly you can get a stuffing, which proves more damaging to morale.

“That Linfield performance should inspire us now moving forward.

“After bringing in so many different players and needing time to integrate everyone into our ideas, we are seeing healthy positives.

“We do not know the full potential of this squad as we’ve had good moments and some not so good but with lots of football left to play.”