Belfast Telegraph

Mid Ulster Cup final: Teenage player progression is biggest prize for Glenavon, insists Hamilton

Glenavon v Warrenpoint Town, Mid-Ulster Cup Final: Stangmore Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

Young guns: Gary Hamilton will call on his rising stars
Young guns: Gary Hamilton will call on his rising stars

By Billy Weir

Gary Hamilton has vowed to send his young guns out to defend the Mid-Ulster Cup.

It is a decision partly down to his philosophy but also because Glenavon are down to the bare bones at the moment.

He has promised changes from the side that lost 2-0 to Ballymena United on Saturday against a Warrenpoint Town team buoyed by their 4-0 thumping of Institute.

"Other boys will get game time, we can't go with the side we had (on Saturday) because there are so many players who are playing 90 minutes week in, week out through injuries," said Hamilton.

"We don't have a massive squad, we don't have the finances to have a massive squad and unfortunately in situations like this it hampers you."

But the policy of letting his fledglings loose in the competition has paid dividends in the past and he has no problem opening the cage door again.

"The trophy for us in the Mid-Ulster Cup is the players who have come through it over the years, that's the trophy I get out of the Mid-Ulster Cup. The supporters always want to win trophies but for me it is a much bigger picture," he said.

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"We've had so many players come through that system, they have had opportunities to play. We haven't always won it, we've been beaten in a couple of finals, but the experience they have gained in those matches you're able to judge them better against a Premier League side.

"It gives them a feel of it and it gives me a look at them in a pressurised situation.

"The Mid-Ulster Cup has been good to us in recent years. Rhys Marshall, James Singleton, Caolan Marron, Mark Sykes, Bobby Burns, Jordan Jenkins, Andy McGrory - they've all come through that system.

"Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture rather than the immediate."

Belfast Telegraph

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