PREMIERSHIP: Gary Hamilton hoping for Glenavon home help against Ballymena United

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton has issued a rally cry for home help over the club's closing two Danske Bank Premiership fixtures.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 20th April 2018, 5:10 am
Updated Friday, 20th April 2018, 5:31 am
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by INPHO.

Victory last weekend at Cliftonville allowed the Lurgan Blues to regain control over Linfield in the race for third spot in the standings.

Third could result in automatic European qualification and Hamilton is calling on the Mourneview Park fanbase for extra backing entering home dates with Ballymena United and Coleraine over the final two Saturday dates.

Glenavon’s last league success on home soil arrived on Boxing Day - with six subsequent setbacks arriving within an overall return of 24 dropped points in Lurgan across the Premiership campaign.

“I can appreciate that is part of football and understand it is a common theme in the game that the away fans tend to be more supportive and vocal than those at home,” said Hamilton. “But we have a squad with many young players and that negativity does impact on performances.

“When sitting in the stands during my touchline ban I can hear the crowd and there is certainly a difference.

“I can appreciate a scoreless draw against a club away from home may be considered acceptable compared to that same result when playing at home.

“But we stand with two league games left at home now over Ballymena United then Coleraine towards securing the prize of third.

“It would mark a great achievement for this squad and everyone is aware of the consequences of getting European football.

“We have managed to improve on last season but with fewer players so a third-place finish at the end of this campaign would be something special.

“There are still no guarantees but we just want to all push in the same direction for the final two league games.

“Staff and players may have 10 years at one club if extremely lucky but it is a lifetime connection for supporters.

“I can understand it is part of the game to have that frustration from fans, especially at home, because of the desire to see the team win and the expectations but the potential rewards for everyone at the club are massive.

“So we want to see that positivity and atmosphere for the next two games and we can achieve our goals as one club.”

Ballymena United hit the road aiming to arrest a run of form which has featured three consecutive Danske Bank Premiership defeats across April.

That sequence marks a first for United within a campaign plagued by injury problems but with the boost of a top-six finish.

Failure to find the net in each of the past three games must also stand as cause for concern for manager David Jeffrey in his analysis of the reverse results to Cliftonville, Linfield and Coleraine.

“To be brutally honest I think we deserved at least a draw,” said Jeffrey in the aftermath of the derby defeat by Coleraine last weekend. “It took something special to beat us.

“While I’m disappointed with the result, I can’t be disappointed with the performance.

“The passion and the desire was there for all to see.

“I’m sure the supporters realise the players ran themselves into the ground and gave everything they had.”