Glenavon: Gary Hamilton to stay on front foot as Institute aim for ugly win
No side can stand superior to Glenavon's goal return in the Danske Bank Premiership - but manager Gary Hamilton is demanding even more from his free-scoring squad.
The Lurgan Blues have hit the back of the net on 35 occasions to date across league play, a tally Ballymena United share having played one extra fixture.
That high-tempo commitment to attack was on show in the weekend win over Ards as Andrew Mitchell, Josh Daniels and Sammy Clingan fired Hamilton’s men to a first league win across November.
Mitchell was commanding as the focal point of the Glenavon frontline, with support from the hard-running Stephen Murray and dancing Daniels alongside team-mates in a squad packed with attacking options. Forward-thinking Hamilton is keen to carry on that momentum in pursuit of continued progress.
“Since I came home from England maybe 18 years ago or so I have been a player and now manager in the Irish League and the one consistency is that teams with the most potent attacks tend to win the titles,” said the Glenavon boss ahead of facing Institute. “A defensive record is still obviously important but it seems in our league it comes down more to the ability to score goals than keep clean sheets.
“Against Ards we had success thanks to pressing together and having that high energy.
“A lot of credit for our attacking strength goes to ‘Windy’ (assistant manager Paul Millar) for his sessions with the strikers, particularly on working to get off more shots.
“In recent games we have not been creating as much so looked at that and felt the need to work on our forwards finding a way to get a strike in on goal from different situations.
“Andrew has been outstanding leading the line and bringing that aggression to his play that we want to see more often.
“Stephen is also flying and having that partnership on form can be key for us as the most successful sides tend to have two strikers firing in goals.”
Institute manager Paddy McLaughlin admits he would gladly swap playing stylish football for an ugly hard-fought win.
Not for the first time this season an opposition manager has praised his side’s style of play after they have secured a narrow win over Institute.
At the weekend, Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter felt his side were fortunate to win and conceded ’Stute “played the best football I’ve seen from any team here in five years”. However, it was of little consolation to McLaughlin, who wants the pats on the back to stop and points on the board.
McLaughlin would love his side to roll up their sleeves and grind out a result at title-chasing Glenavon.
“Look it’s nice what Stephen said, but we are in a results business and again we didn’t get a result,” he stated. “To be honest, half of me wants to swap playing well for an ugly performance and the other half wants me to stick to my principles and that’s encouraging the boys to keep playing.
“I have belief in the boys and because of that I will keep encouraging them to try to play the game the proper way.
“We played some super football at Crusaders and fingers crossed we can do the same at Glenavon, but this time get a positive result.”