Belfast Telegraph

Warrenpoint have proved they're no pushovers, warns wary Gary Hamilton

Glenavon v Warrenpoint Town, Danske Bank Premiership, Mourneview Park, Tomorrow, 3.00pm

Top man: Gary Hamilton receives his Manager of the Month award from Keith Bailie of the NIFWA
Top man: Gary Hamilton receives his Manager of the Month award from Keith Bailie of the NIFWA

By Alex Mills

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton admits the alarm bells are ringing at Mourneview Park ahead of tomorrow's clash with Warrenpoint Town.

Stephen McDonnell's braves were only seconds away from an historic first ever win over Linfield last weekend, only to have their moment of glory ripped from their grasp by a late, late Andy Waterworth equaliser.

That shock result has put the Lurgan Blues, who sit proudly at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table, on high alert.

Hamilton, this morning named the Belleek Manager of the Month after his team's impressive unbeaten run in October, stresses Warrenpoint Town have earned respect.

"There is nothing easy in this league as we saw last Saturday," he said. "Warrenpoint came within seconds of a sensational win against the Blues.

"A win would have been an unbelievable achievement, but even taking a point from Windsor Park was a great result.

"We played them (Warrenpoint) earlier in the season at their place and found it a really difficult game. They went 1-0 up before we turned it around, taking a 3-1 lead. At the time we probably didn't deserve it.

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"Then Simon Kelly pulled one back to make it a nervy final few minutes for us. Thankfully, we saw the game out.

"It proves that every fixture in this league is difficult, especially if you are not on your game. The teams in the bottom half of the table have already shown they are capable of taking points off the teams in the top half."

Glenavon fell to only their second defeat of the season when narrowly losing out to Ballymena United last Friday night at a rain and wind-swept Showgrounds, but Hamilton believes his boys deserved more.

"People say it was a setback, but to me setbacks are more worrying when you don't play well," he said. "I don't think we were at the races in the first half, but even then we missed chances.

"We were the dominant team and created a lot of decent chances, but we just couldn't manage to get the equaliser which I thought we deserved.

"Based on our overall performance, I reckon we deserved at least a point, which would have been a good result because Ballymena are a good team."

Hamilton dedicated his manger of the month award - his fourth overall and second in a row - to his players, adding: "Awards are all about the players. It's the team that ultimately gets the manager the award.

"They do the business on the pitch. They have been excellent over the last couple of months. It's because of them I've been privileged enough to pick up the trophy in successive months."

Even though Hamilton lost first-team coach Kris Lindsay - he took over the managerial post at Dungannon Swifts - the Lurgan Blues have maintained their challenge at the top of the table.

"Kris was superb, but since Windy (Paul Millar) and I have been at the club, we've now had seven or eight coaches," added Hamilton. "Mark Ferguson has come in and he's been an excellent replacement.

"He has come in with new ideas and he's a new voice. We haven't sacked any of the coaches, we've lost them through one reason or another.

"Fergie had been with the Under-20s with Andy Mathieson, so it was a natural progression."

Hamilton won't have a full-strength squad to face Warrenpoint, as defender Andrew Doyle is out.

"We'll be missing Andrew for a couple of months," he added. "He needs an operation on his knee."

Belfast Telegraph


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