Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon can avoid a Big Dipper after Coleraine defeat, says Singleton

By Billy Weir

James Singleton is determined that last week's unhappy visit to the north coast will not herald another roller-coaster season for Glenavon.

Portrush wasn't on the agenda, nor a visit to Barry's, but the ups of the start of the season were followed by a big down with a defeat in neighbouring Coleraine.

Up until that 4-2 reversal at Ballycastle Road, the signs were good - three wins and a draw from their opening four games - and now the defender is determined that they get back to winning ways when Carrick Rangers visit Mourneview Park tonight (7.45pm).

"They're doing well and have picked up a few points and in a decent position for them in seventh, but it's three points we have to go and win and bounce back from losing at Coleraine," explained the 22-year-old.

"At the start I thought this season was going to be a wee bit different after winning three games and drawing against the Glens and I thought 'flip, we're doing well and haven't got beaten.'

"But we lost on Saturday, but we'll just put that behind us now and try and go on another run, that's all we can do. If you look at last season we were so inconsistent but I have a feeling we will be a bit more consistent this time."

With so many young players in Gary Hamilton's squad after a close season of cloth-cutting following missing out in Europe, it is perhaps understandable that there are going to be a few blips along the way.

With a number of established players hitting the highway, it has opened the door for some of Hamilton's fledglings to take flight - and Singleton is confident that they will reach the heights.

"Our team is very, very young. A lot of boys left at the end of last season and the young players all want to play, push on and try and win things and push up the table as much as we can," he explained. "It's a hungry side, and that can only work to our benefit."

One of those young stars is Bobby Burns, the head boy of St Malachy's College in Belfast who was on duty for Northern Ireland's Under-21 side this week and has been earning rave reviews for his early season displays.

"The best thing we did for Bobby was sending him out loan to Knockbreda last year because he came back a different player having played first-team football," he added.

"Even first-team football in the Championship is different than playing for the Reserves at our level and he came back a lot stronger and a better player all round."

The subject of Northern Ireland's Under-21s is, literally, a sore one for the left-back.

In October 2015, he suffered a fracture to his left tibia that ruled him out for a large part of last season but, touch wood, he is back fitter and healthier than ever.

"The leg is fine now, it took me a wee while last season to get going when I came back in at Christmas time," he added.

"I feel I've started this season pretty well and just hope the leg stays 100 per cent and I can go and have a good season."

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