Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon stars aiming to take flight

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton is hoping to avoid turbulence when his players begin their Europa League adventure against Hafnarfjordur.

The Lurgan Blues aren't just honoured to be back on the European stage – they are relieved to be in Iceland after a delay caused by a flight cancellation.

The Irish Cup winners have arrived safe and well in Iceland but only after the plug was pulled on their flight to Birmingham on Tuesday.

Hamilton referred to the experience as "a shambles" but he is hoping his players will make smooth progress this evening in the first leg encounter.

The Lurgan Blues met their opponents before in the Uefa Cup back in the 1995/96 season and after a scoreless draw at Mourneview Park, a goal from Sammy Johnston saw them through, becoming the first Irish League team to win in Iceland.

One man hoping to impress on the trip is new signing Conor Dillon, a 24-year-old central defender and former Republic of Ireland youth international.

"The back four have been solid, with Kyle Neill and new signing Conor Dillon really showing up well," said Hamilton. "Conor is strong in the air and has pace which we were lacking in the defence last season."

The Irish Cup winners are looking sharp with the addition of Kevin Braniff and Eoin Bradley.

With Guy Bates also expected to lead the line, Hamilton will be hoping his troops can return home with a priceless away goal.

Hafnarfjordur, who are flying high at the top of the Iceland Premier League, will be hungry to carve out a first leg lead.

Belfast Telegraph

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