Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton wants Glenavon to fire on Portadown's patch

By David Mason

Glenavon chief Gary Hamilton insists his boys are ready for a Boxing Day showdown against rivals Portadown at Shamrock Park.

The Lurgan Blues will attempt to end a horrible sequence of results against their Mid-Ulster rivals on their home patch as they haven't won at that venue in a festive shoot-out for 49 years.

Hamilton, however, is determined to change the trend.

He said: "The fans always want to win on Boxing Day and the players and staff are no different.

"Being a Glenavon fan all my life, winning on Boxing Day always means a lot.

"If you look at the statistics, there hasn't been a Glenavon team who has won a Boxing Day derby at Shamrock Park in 49 years and there have been some really good sides in that time.

"We are a decent team and hopefully we can change that statistic this year and the players are determined to put that to bed.

"If they go out, give their all and play the way we can play, we will have a great chance."

Hamilton admits that his team have failed to reach the heights of last season.

He lamented: "Result haven't been as good as they were last year.

"When we've analysed games, there have been 11 penalty decisions that haven't gone for us this season which is incredible.

"I'm not blaming he officials but it is a major aspect of us not getting result.

"They are the fine lines that have been the difference this year.

"We were getting the rub of the green last year, but not this year.

"Other than a couple of games, we have been in every game but we haven't been as clinical.

"Even last week against Crusaders there were so many incidents - including a penalty - when we could have changed the way the game was going.

"Eoin Bradley had a good chance at 2-1 and then the Crues went straight up the pitch and scored to make it 3-1 - those are the fine lines."

The former Glentoran man also acknowledges the Ports will be buoyed by new boss Niall Currie.

"It will be tough, especially with their new manager coming in," he added.

"There is usually a bit of a bounce when that happens with players trying to impress and playing for their futures and you saw that with Portadown last week.

"It happened at Carrick a few weeks back and Ards last week when they went to Coleraine and got a good draw.

"But we want to get a good result to give our fans something to cheer about at Christmas.

"I've seen teams get a massive lift after a good win on Boxing Day and hopefully that can happen for us this year."

But if there's one Danske Bank Premiership club craving a happy Christmas more than any other it's Portadown.

In fact the Ports will be glad to see the back of 2016.

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