Lessons not revenge the motivation for Glenavon after ‘laughing stock’ win by Linfield

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.
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Gary Hamilton wants his Glenavon players to draw on past pain tonight against Linfield.

Revenge may not be the motivation but the Lurgan Blues boss is looking for evidence of learning lessons in the aftermath of September’s 7-0 loss to Linfield.

“We were 3-0 down on 14 minutes and felt five of the seven goals came, from our viewpoint, of not marking in the box,” said Hamilton. “First and foremost, our defenders need to defend against Linfield.

“When playing Linfield they get the ball out wide quickly and deliver into the box, so you must be ready and keep the focus.

“You’ve got to mark your men and do the defensive work, with anything else on top a bonus.

“That game hurt and stuck in my mind for a long time.

“So I’m not thinking so much about revenge but certainly there’s lessons to learn.

“I’m sure some looked on us as a laughing stock after that result and then the 6-0 loss to Larne.

“So there’s an element of playing for pride.

“But we also have to believe in our own capabilities and how we’ve been able to perform against Linfield in the past.

“Or even back to last weekend when Warrenpoint pulled off a win over Coleraine as the team bottom against the team top.”

Glenavon will take to the pitch for the first time since November 9 in the Danske Bank Premiership - and Hamilton accepts an element of disruption caused by the enforced break as a result of international call-ups.

But he also highlights the benefits of the blank schedule.

“We would not have been able to put out a back four basically last week due to unavailability and injury,” he said. “Now we have Paddy Burns and Caolan Marron back in the defence from international duty having, hopefully, gained a benefit from spending time in that set-up around quality players.

“It is up to each individual but I know from my experiences around international groups as a player I always returned to my club feeling confident.

“If you’ve played and done well in games that’s great but even being around players of that standard and often in a full-time environment for an extended period too can only help.

“One negative is the potential impact of playing maybe three games inside 10 days but, overall, there are plenty of positives from time on international duty that extend beyond the actual period away.

“Daniel Larmour is still going to be unavailable now for the Linfield match due to suspension but Paddy, Caolan, James Singleton and Andrew Doyle all should come back into contention and that certainly was not the case for us if we had to play last weekend.”

Linfield head into the fixture sitting fourth in the senior standings, with European commitments having restricted the defending champions to just 13 appearances to date across the league campaign.

Despite the backlog resulting in the three sides above on 16 games, Linfield only trail Crusaders by just two points and sit five behind Coleraine and seven off leaders Cliftonville.

“Glenavon’s form hasn’t been great but we’ve always found it tough down at Mourneview Park,” said Linfield boss David Healy on the club’s official website. “They beat us twice recently so we look forward to the challenge.

“Hopefully, we have one or two back.”