IRISH LEAGUE: Gary Hamilton expecting a low-key conclusion as Irish Cup finalists meet at Mourneview Park

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton

Gary Hamilton is expecting a low-key affair when Glenavon entertain Linfield on Saturday.

The two sides have already qualified for Europe, and with a huge Irish Cup final lurking on the horizon both managers will be keen to avoid any late set-backs as they target silverware glory.

Linfield and Glenavon have booked their places in the Europa League qualifiers after finishing second and third respectively in the Danske Bank Premiership.

It leaves Saturday’s final league game as a dead rubber, with both clubs already eyeing up next week’s showpiece cup final.

“It was good to secure third spot last week, and it has taken the pressure off going into this game,” Glenavon player/boss Hamilton said.

“It is probably ideal for both clubs looking ahead to the Irish Cup final.

“Saturday will give us the chance to run our eye over a few players returning from injury. It will be good to give them some game time and see if they can feature in the cup final.”

James McGrath will earn his first league start of the season in goal while Daniel Kearns, Mark Sykes, Andy McGrory, Declan O’Brien and David Elebert are also expected to get run-outs for the Lurgan Blues. Bobby Burns, Caolan Marron and Conal Delaney should also feature.

“The result isn’t important on Saturday, so that’s why the game offers us the opportunity to survey our squad,” Hamilton added.

“The Irish Cup final is massive and we don’t want to risk anyone, and we want as many players fit and available as possible.”