Marty Quinn is planning to have a big say in the destination of the Carling Premiership title — starting today.
And Quinn is determined to make an impact as the league battle approaches crunch time by ensuring that the Lurgan Blues are facing the contenders in the climax to the campaign.
Having beaten Coleraine a fortnight ago, Quinn has his sights on humbling the rest of the teams in the chasing pack, with a home game against Glentoran this afternoon and encounters against Crusaders (March 1) and Linfield (March 23) to come before the split.
Being in the top half come the split in a month’s time is the target for the Mourneview Park men and not only would three points for Glenavon this afternoon see the title race take another twist, it would also put the home side in a great position to overhaul Dungannon Swifts — if they fail to beat Linfield at Windsor Park.
The Glens are three points behind leaders Cliftonville in a tight and tense title race, in which none of the top five have picked up maximum points from their last two outings.
“We won’t win the league, but we can have a say in where the title goes and that’s what I want,” said Quinn.
“We have a lot of the top teams still to play and they can rest assured that we’ll be up for those matches.
“I want to be playing them in April as well.
“Finishing in the top half and making the split has been our target since the start of the season and the recent run of results we’ve had has given us the chance to do that.”
And there are reasons both on and off the pitch why Quinn is placing a great degree of importance on being in the top bracket of teams in the spring.
“It’s important to make the top six because it keeps the players on top of their game when they are playing matches that matter at the top of the table,” said Quinn.
“There will be bigger crowds because of the importance of the matches and that will motivate the players as well as being financially lucrative for the club by generating revenue through the gate, which always helps.”
Losing to Ballymena United in midweek was only Glenavon’s second defeat since Christmas and a couple of home wins in that time have given them the chance to make the split.
“We’ve been going in the right direction, the performances have been good and there is fresh confidence in the squad,” said Quinn.
“When I look round at the bench over the last couple of games and see Willo McDonagh, Mark Gracey, Tony Grant, Stuart King, Conor Walsh and Rory Hamill it gives me confidence too because they are players who can come on and influence matches.
“Indeed McDonagh and Walsh have come on lately and scored goals, which is great for a manager to see.
“I was gutted for the lads on Tuesday night because there were some outstanding performances and we were hard done by with the penalty because every one of my players denied that there was any contact between Andrew Plummer and the Ballymena player. We’ve got to lift ourselves up and prepare for Saturday and Glentoran now.”
Hamill is in line for a debut today against one of his many former clubs.