Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon's new tasty M&M strike pairing can down Linfield again: Mitchell


Dynamic duo: Andrew Mitchell and Stephen Murray have been flourishing for Glenavon since being paired together
Dynamic duo: Andrew Mitchell and Stephen Murray have been flourishing for Glenavon since being paired together

By Steven Beacom

Glenavon striker Andrew Mitchell has urged his team-mates to double up against Linfield tonight and make it two wins out of two against the champions at Windsor Park in 2018.

Last month, Gary Hamilton's men won 3-2 in the Danske Bank Premiership at the iconic venue when Mitchell and Stephen Murray were paired together for the first time in attack.

The plan worked, with Murray - a new signing from Warrenpoint Town - dovetailing brilliantly with Mitchell, who netted his first goal against Linfield in the victory.

Since then, the M&M partnership has continued to flourish. Glenavon are too far behind Crusaders and Coleraine to win the title, but they are looking good in third, three points ahead of David Healy's side.

Mitchell, who has scored 14 league goals this season having returned to Mourneview Park from Dungannon Swifts in the summer, feels the Lurgan Blues will go to their Belfast counterparts with great confidence and hopes he and Murray can do some more damage.

"Stephen has made a big impact since coming in. He has been brilliant for me," said Mitchell.

"I think we are quite similar in the way we play but we complement each other well and we have scored plenty of goals, and long may it continue.

"We'll go to Windsor with confidence. We have already beaten them there this season and we have the self-belief to go there and earn another three important points."

Glenavon coach Kris Lindsay feels the M&M partnership has proved tasty for the club.

"Mitch was top scorer in the league last season and signing him in the summer was great for us because he's powerful, pacey and can finish," said Lindsay.

"He gets a lot of attention from centre-backs and had a great start to the season. He will tell you himself he hit a plateau, and the signing of Stephen Murray in January has helped him and taken some of the workload off him.

"The two of them are starting to work really well as a partnership. They are a handful for any back four. I wouldn't fancy playing against them."

Another key asset for Glenavon is teenage talent Bobby Burns, capable of playing in just about any position on the pitch with a wand of a left foot.

Mitchell said: "Bobby has a fantastic attitude for a kid of 18. He works so hard in training and gives absolutely everything out on the pitch and that's exactly what you want from a team-mate.

"He also has that extra bit of quality in terms of assists and he can also score goals as well. He has been a great find for Glenavon."

It's a big week for both Glenavon and Linfield with an important league match at Windsor tonight and then home Irish Cup quarter-finals on Saturday against Loughgall and Cliftonville respectively.

"When I returned to Glenavon I wanted to be up there challenging at the top of the league and challenging for Europe. I'm loving it and hopefully we can put together a strong finish to the season," added ace marksman Mitchell.

Tonight's fixtures

Tonight (7.45pm): Ards v Ballymena United, Carrick Rangers v Dungannon Swifts, Glentoran v Warrenpoint Town, Linfield v Glenavon.

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