Belfast Telegraph

Winning run can get Glenavon back in title contention: Mitchell

Glenavon v Ballymena Utd, Danske Bank Premiership, Mourneview Park, Saturday, 3.00pm

Call to arms: Andrew Mitchell wants Mourneview Park to be a fortress
Call to arms: Andrew Mitchell wants Mourneview Park to be a fortress

By Alex Mills

Striker Andrew Mitchell stresses Glenavon must make Mourneview Park into a fortress once again.

Gary Hamilton's side on January 1 not only lost in the League for the first time since the first day of the season but have also been squandering crucial points at home, which means they are now playing catch-up in the table.

It was Warrenpoint Town who halted their impressive unbeaten run, which had spanned to a healthy 10 matches.

Star man Mitchell, who has bagged 10 goals so far, believes the Lurgan Blues can get back on track when they entertain David Jeffrey's Ballymena United at Mourneview Park tomorrow.

"Our home form has been indifferent over the past month or so," he admitted.

"We were disappointed to lose out on New Year's Day to Warrenpoint, who have proved to be a very competent side.

"It was our first League home defeat since August 4, when we lost to Linfield.

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"Although we have had some great victories, we can reflect on vital points being dropped against Institute on two occasions and also Dungannon Swifts all at Mourneview Park.

"We were in a winning position in all three, but let points slip from our grasp.

"Every team goes through a difficult period. Hopefully, our little blip at home is behind us."

Glenavon grabbed a priceless draw with Coleraine last weekend, with Niall Grace hitting his first goal for the club to secure a point. Mitchell insists it's important to build on that result.

"The Coleraine Showgrounds is always a difficult place to go," he added. "I thought we deserved to leave with something.

"We know Ballymena will be an equally tough game. We beat them well at our place way back in August, but they had a man sent off which had a big effect.

"However, they got a bit of revenge by beating us in November, when (Johnny) McMurray hit a last-minute winner. It was a horrible night and I thought we deserved a draw."

Although Glenavon lost the influential midfield duo of Mark Sykes and Ben Doherty in recent weeks, Mitchell believes manager Gary Hamilton pulled off a masterstroke by adding Linfield's Robbie Garrett to his squad.

"He has bags of experience and has got a great winning mentality," he added. "Robert has won League titles and Irish Cups, he knows what's required in this league.

"I think he'll be a great signing for us. Yes, we lost a few boys, but we've still got Sammy Clingan, Aaron Harmon and Niall Grace in the middle of the park, while Robbie Norton has been recalled from Warrenpoint."

Even though the Lurgan Blues are 10 points behind table topping Linfield, Mitchell insists no one will be throwing in the towel at Glenavon.

"If any team can go on a winning run of four or five games, it can shoot them right back into contention," he adds. "We'll just get on with things and try to pick up as many points as possible."

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