Belfast Telegraph

We can add final twist to the title race, says Gleavon's Andrew Mitchell

By Graham Luney

Andrew Mitchell believes Glenavon can do Coleraine a massive favour and stun Crusaders again at Seaview tomorrow.

The Lurgan Blues inflicted one of the Crues' three defeats in the Premiership this season when they ran out 3-2 winners at the Shore Road venue in October.

Frontman Mitchell was on target along with Mark Sykes and Mark Griffin and another away success could open the door for the Bannsiders to snatch the league title.

Stephen Baxter's side are only two points ahead of Coleraine with four games left and one defeat could crush their title dreams.

Glenavon are currently in third position in the table, ahead of Linfield on goal difference, and that would be enough to secure a Europa League place should Coleraine lift the Irish Cup.

Mitchell admits the European goal is a big target and the 24-year-old is confident the Mourneview men can pick themselves up after the midweek loss to the Blues.

"It was a disappointing result against Linfield and the game hasn't been kind to us at the moment but I felt we deserved more," said the former Dungannon Swifts ace.

"I felt we played the better football over the 90 minutes but of course it's all about scoring goals and they got one more than us.

"Linfield took the points but we kept the ball well and created chances.

"It's important to try and finish in third position because if Coleraine win the Irish Cup that would open the door to European football for the side that finishes third.

"There is still the European play-off scenario but you want to take a chance while it is there. We have a tough last few games but we will be trying to win them all.

"The top two are in a real battle for the title and it looks too close to call.

"Crusaders will be tough opponents on Saturday but we will be looking to return to winning ways and we have beaten the Crues 3-2 at Seaview this season and there's no reason why we cannot do that again.

"The Crues have a few home games left and they are very strong at home but teams are battling for that third-placed spot and the games are competitive.

"Through the play-off system the team that finishes down in seventh has a shot at Europe and it feels a bit unfair but that's the set-up."

Hearts are among the clubs monitoring the progress of Glenavon's young diamond Bobby Burns and Mitchell is excited by the Lurgan Blues production line.

"It's great to see players like Mark Sykes and Bobby Burns improve and they have both been exceptional this year," added Mitchell.

"They are producing consistent performances and that has been reflected in their Northern Ireland Under-21 call-ups.

"Hopefully they can continue their superb form in the last few games and you never know, a move could be on the cards for them.

"You always like to see players fulfil their potential but for now we are happy to have them with us."

Belfast Telegraph

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