Belfast Telegraph

Bates can fire us into the last four: Hamilton

By Gordon Hanna

Gary Hamilton will be looking to Saturday's two-goal hero Guy Bates to help blow Ards out of the water in tonight's League Cup quarter-final.

On-fire Bates bagged two in two minutes to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat against Crusaders at the weekend.

The brace took Bates' goal tally for the season to 16 and bossman Hamilton wants more of the same in a bid to reach the semi-final just like last year.

Hamilton says: "Goal scoring was the one aspect of Guy's play that was missing last season but he has been working very hard and is getting his rewards.

"When the ball falls to him in the box at the moment, it'll only go one place and that's the back of the net. We're thankful he has come back this season and is scoring goals for fun. He has three in the cup and 13 in the league so if he keeps it up he could score 25-30 this season.

"I see this as a massive game. We're striving to keep improving so we'll be going into the tie confident, determined and fully focussed."

But Hamilton doesn't expect an easy ride, insisting: "We may have beaten them twice already in the league but a cup tie is something different.

"It's a one off situation and anything can happen. It's about who turns up on the night. The best team doesn't always win because luck plays a part. It certainly won't be an easy game because Ards will be confident as well after beating Coleraine.

"That was a big win for them. We may have beaten them twice already but that will mean nothing.

"We do have the home draw but even so we won't be taking anything for granted."

Ards are disadvantaged in that manager Niall Currie's top man 'handy' Andy Mitchell is being forced to sit out the game. It's a mighty blow because Mitchell was man of the match and scored as Currie's men chalked up a rare league win at the weekend to lift themselves off the bottom rung of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Rookie Mitchell is revelling in his role as a first choice striker and is fast gaining the experience and fine tuning Hamilton wanted when he allowed him to join Ards until January.

Currie said: "Naturally I would have been happier had Andy been available but a deal is a deal. The lad has been doing well and benefiting from having game time.

"We're just grateful to Gary for letting us have him on loan.

"At the end of the day he's still a Glenavon player so it's more important that he is available for our league game on Saturday. Gary has done us a great favour by allowing us to have Andy."

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