Hamilton set to give his youngsters a chance as league campaign draws to a close

Hamilton set to give his youngsters a chance as league campaign draws to a close
Michael Scott


Michael Scott



The kids will be alright for Gary Hamilton this weekend as Glenavon round off their league campaign on Saturday against Warrenpoint Town.

The Lurgan Blues’ boss is set to give some of his regulars the weekend off as a reward for reaching the European play-off places, but also to keep their legs fresh with potentially a triple-bill of big games coming up, depending on who wins the Irish Cup.

Should Crusaders win it Glenavon will go straight into the semi-finals against Glentoran at the Oval, but if Ballymena United lift the cup then the Mourneview men face a midweek trip to Coleraine to see who will reach the semi-finals – click here for more details.

“We will have been able to give the boys a night off and the boys that weren’t playing will get an opportunity against Warrenpoint,” he told Glenavon Media.

“I’ll be able to give the young lads a chance against Premiership opposition and see who can handle it and who can’t. It’s a good opportunity for those young kids.

“After Saturday we will start preparing because we know that we will have potentially three games in the play-offs. We want to give ourselves the best opportunity and have the best preparation that we can in order to get that European spot.”

With the exception of Andy Hall and Conor McCloskey, Hamilton has an otherwise full squad to pick from for Saturday's fixture, which kicks off at the later time of 5.30pm.

Glenavon secured their play-off spot with victory over Portadown last week – no more than Hamilton feels his squad deserve.

“We sat down with the board and a realistic target was seventh. If we had a really good season and a bit of luck we might have finished sixth but seventh was our target,” he said.

“Obviously we all have ambitions of finishing higher but when you look at the teams above us, the squads they have and the money they’re spending, we would have needed one of those teams to have had a really poor season and us to have had a season of really good luck.

“It’s been a tough ask for the boys but it has been a great changing room all year. All credit goes to them.”

As for their play-off chances, you’ll not hear any big talk coming out of Lurgan.

“We’ve given ourselves an opportunity now,” added Hamilton.

“I’m not saying we are going to go and win it – there’s no point in making statements like that – but they’ve given themselves an opportunity and that’s all we can ask of them.

“At the end of the day the team who finishes sixth still has the same opportunity that we have – the only difference is that we are away from home.”

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