Stephen McDonnell confident Glenavon have the quality to start climbing Premiership table

Stephen McDonnell has full confidence that his Glenavon side will start to climb the Premiership table from what he feels is a false position of 11th as the former Warrenpoint Town boss seeks a first league win with the Lurgan Blues.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The 31-year-old has overseen two cup victories since taking over from Gary Hamilton last month, but has lost three testing Premiership fixtures to Larne, Coleraine and Cliftonville with his team sitting just one point above Ballymena United.

There were positive signs in last Friday’s narrow 1-0 defeat to Cliftonville that McDonnell is starting to implement his style of football and after today’s trip to Glentoran they will face a block of five fixtures against the current occupants of the other bottom-six positions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, the new boss isn’t looking at the fixture list that way and sees every match as an opportunity for his side to improve their spot.

Glenavon manager Stephen McDonnell. PIC: INPHO/Phil MagowanGlenavon manager Stephen McDonnell. PIC: INPHO/Phil Magowan
Glenavon manager Stephen McDonnell. PIC: INPHO/Phil Magowan

"There is a chance to pick up points every week,” he said. “I don't fathom this top-six and bottom-six talk - at the end of the day there is three points up for grabs.

"We've ran potential league challengers Cliftonville to the wire here so there's no more pressure on this game than against a bottom-six team or vice versa.

"We want to win games of football and whoever that's against, we don't care.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We'll approach it with the exact same mindset as we did at Coleraine or against Larne and Cliftonville here.

"We'll be positive, respectful and try to go and win the game."

While Glentoran scored six goals in their last home outing against Loughgall, Glenavon have mustered only 10 in 12 matches to date – the second-lowest in the league – while Carrick Rangers and Newry City are the two teams that have conceded more than their tally of 28.

McDonnell is placing an importance on individual responsibility and has belief in his squad to turn their fortunes around.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We're asking the players to completely flip their approach to the game,” he added. “We have to accept that mistakes will happen at times and it's better it happening now in the early stages.

"As we start to develop with the players and put them into those situations from a training standpoint, they will get better.

"They are accountable to their own individual performance - that's not down to me, Simon (Kelly, assistant manager) or any of the staff to get after them.

"It's down to their own standards on the pitch.

"We'll demand a standard from the team and it's on them to prove what they have to bring to the party.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I first said when we came in here that there's a lovely period of time for them to impress us and they have to because ultimately we're coming in to another manager's set of players - albeit I think this is a very good squad and the position is a bit false.

"I'm confident we'll get results and climb the table."